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Lebanese man stakes claim as world's oldest

Says he's 135

March 7, 1997
Web posted at: 1:41 p.m. EST (1841 GMT)

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Spry Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment has been drawing much of the media spotlight as of late with her claim to the title of world's oldest person at the tender age of 122. But she may have met her elder in Lebanese farmer Ali Mohammed Hussein.

An identity document issued by the Lebanese government shows that Hussein was born in 1862, which would make him 135 years old. If accurate, that would mean he was already a teen-ager when Calment came into the world. Hussein would also be 21 years older than Christian Mortensen of Denmark, who currently claims the title of world's oldest man at age 114.

A charcoal burner and farmer, Hussein says he was born in Qinieh, a village about 90 miles (150 km) north of Beirut in the rocky uplands of northern Lebanon. His wife, Amsha, is 90, and, according to his oldest son, Hussein has at least 93 direct descendants.

Hussein's identity document is based on a compilation of population statistics made by the Lebanese government in 1932. It is registered in the Interior Ministry's records, but its authenticity could not be independently verified.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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