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World Leaders Skeptical About Report of Osama bin Laden's Death

The President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has said the death of Osama bin Laden would be good news, but he called published reports of the al-Qaida leader's demise mere speculation.

Mr. Karzai spoke Saturday in Canada, following publication in a French newspaper of a French intelligence report that said Saudi officials believed bin Laden had died in Pakistan within the past month.

The report triggered widespread skepticism.

French President Jacques Chirac stressed that the report has not been confirmed. He also promised an investigation, saying he was surprised such secret information had been published.

The White House also said it could not confirm the information, while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined comment.

Pakistan also said it could not confirm the report.

There have been many reports in the past that bin Laden had died.

The Washington-based IntelCenter, a firm that monitors terrorism communications, tells VOA it has seen nothing to indicate that bin Laden has died. IntelCenter director Ben Venzke says he thinks al-Qaida would release information of bin Laden's death fairly quickly if it were true.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.