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Argentina abuzz over Bush twin purse snatch report

Written by: Staff

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Nov 23 (Reuters) Reports that an agile Argentine thief snatched the purse of one of the twin daughters of US President George W Bush while US Secret Service agents were nearby had local media in a buzz.

''Bush's bodyguards couldn't handle San Telmo purse-snatcher,'' read a headline in the Web site of official news agency Telam.

Telam said a government source, who asked not to be named, confirmed a report on an ABC News Web site blog regarding the robbery. Different local reports said the alleged purse-snatching happened on Sunday or on Monday.

Barbara Bush, 24, who has the same name as her grandmother, was in a restaurant in the San Telmo neighborhood when her purse was taken, Telam reported yesterday.

It was not clear whether she was wearing her purse at the time of the robbery or whether she was in an open-air restaurant or indoors.

Radio and television reporters flocked to the main square in the historic San Telmo neighborhood -- known for its outdoor restaurants and tango performances -- trying in vain to find out in which restaurant the purse had disappeared.

All they came up with were a couple shopkeepers who said they were just now discovering that a young woman who had been in their shop in recent days may have been Barbara Bush.

The United States embassy in Argentina and the White House declined to comment on the robbery reports, and Argentine police said no report had been filed with them.

Officials at Argentina's interior ministry did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

It was not known how long Bush's daughter had been in Argentina or why she was visiting. Some reports said she had been in neighboring Paraguay earlier, in an activity related with the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF.

Reuters SBA VP0423

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