Saudis say bin Laden ill, not dead
A report that Osama bin Laden is dead has set off a flurry of denials from U.S., French and Pakistani officials, who say the newspaper report citing French intelligence cannot be independently confirmed.One thing is for sure, someday it will be true tht he is dead. Perhaps we should give him some more time to enjoy his illness.
A Saudi intelligence official, however, told CNN on Saturday that the al Qaeda leader is suffering from a waterborne illness. There have been credible reports that the most wanted man in the world is ill, but there is no intelligence indicating he is dead, the source said.
L'Est Republicain, citing a September 21 French foreign intelligence document, reported that Saudi officials had received confirmation that bin Laden died August 23 of typhoid fever in Pakistan. (Watch CNN's Nic Robertson reveal the latest intelligence on bin Laden's health -- 1:54)
"We believe this reporting to be unsubstantiated," a U.S. intelligence official said.
Bin Laden's brother-in-law, Jamal Khalifa, who was the al Qaeda leader's best friend when they were university students in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, told CNN that he has heard no report of bin Laden's death. The Saudi-based businessman has been married to bin Laden's sister, Shaikha, since 1986.
Khaled Batarfi, a managing editor at the Saudi newspaper Al Madina and who was close friends with bin Laden when they were teenagers, said he remains in touch with bin Laden's immediate family in Jeddah. Family members said Saturday they had heard nothing to confirm the report, Batarfi told CNN.
Despite the fervent denials, journalist Laid Sammari, who wrote the article, said in a telephone interview that he was confident the classified document was authentic. His article states that Saudi secret service agents on September 4 received reports of bin Laden's death.
Saudi officials plan to make an official announcement after they confirm the burial site for the al Qaeda leader, Sammari said.
In Pakistan, officials said Saturday that they had no confirmation of bin Laden's death. On Friday, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf confirmed President Bush's earlier statement that the hunt for bin Laden is still on.