Osama bin Laden, charismatic founder of al-Qaeda, died of typhoid earlier this month in Pakistan, according to a highly classified intelligence brief given to the King of Saudi Arabia and President Chirac this week, and leaked to the French newspaper L'Est Republicain.
The chief of the terror group was known to have been suffering from acute typhoid and seeking treatment in Pakistan in mid-August. This was picked up and tracked by Saudi intelligence services. The same sources, said by the French to be very reliable, believe he later died. Bin Laden last appeared on video in 2004. A few poor-quality audio tapes purporting to be of his voice surfaced earlier this year - but it was impossible to say when the original recordings were made.