Mon, Oct 20, 2003 - Page 6 News List

Al-Jazeera broadcasts bin Laden tape

HOLY WAR In a tape broadcast on al-Jazeera, a speaker claiming to be Osama bin Laden threatened attacks on US allies and urged followers to wage war on Americans


In a new audiotape, a voice purported to be Osama bin Laden vowed suicide attacks "inside and outside" the US and threatened nations that are helping the American occupation of Iraq.

The speaker in the tape, broadcast throughout the Arab world Saturday by the al-Jazeera television station, also warned Iraqis against cooperating with US forces and urged youth in neighboring nations to join a jihad, or holy war, against the Americans.

"We reserve the right to respond at the appropriate time and place against all the countries participating in this unjust war, particularly Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy," the voice said.

"The Islamic countries who participate will not be exempt, especially the Gulf countries, most prominent among them is Kuwait, the launching base for infantry troops of the crusaders."

It was the first tape since one released on the eve of the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks -- and the new message came as US President George W. Bush was on a tour of Asian nations rallying allies in the war on terrorism.

The US is pushing more nations to send troops to Iraq to help US-led forces trying to stabilize the country. Even as US troops have faced an ongoing guerrilla resistance -- blamed on loyalists of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein -- a series of deadly suicide bombings has taken place in the past two months, mostly in Baghdad, whose authors are still not known.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said authorities would analyze the new tape.

"It is a reminder that the global war on terror continues," said McClellan, with Bush in Bangkok at an economic summit.

"Terrorists are enemies of the civilized world who seek to spread fear and chaos and they have no regard for innocent life," he said.

The speaker on the tape used similar wording, including Koranic verses and poems, spoken by bin Laden in previous tapes. He held back a sob when addressing the Iraqi people, telling them he shares their concerns and saluting them on their jihad.

"God knows if I could find a way to your field, I wouldn't stall," the speaker said.

"You my brother fighters in Iraq ... I tell you: You are God's soldiers and the arrows of Islam, and the first line of defense for this [Muslim] nation today ... so don't [fail] the Muslims today."

The speaker said this is his second message to the Iraqi people. In February, an audiotaped message believed to be from bin Laden urged Iraqis to carry out suicide attacks against Americans and draw US troops into combat in Iraqi cities.

The Qatar-based satellite station al-Jazeera received the recording Saturday from a "trusted source" who called and offered the audiotape, news editor Ibrahim Hilal said.

The recording was 31 minutes but the station aired only about 17 minutes of "important material, what is newsworthy," Hilal said. The station broke up the tape into two parts, one addressed to Americans, the other to Iraqis and Arabs.

The message apparently was recorded before early last month, because the speaker refers to the government of former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned on Sept. 6.

Al-Jazeera aired the message Saturday over a still photo of bin Laden, dressed in a robe and vest and a traditional flat Afghan cap.

In the portion addressed to Americans, the speaker said: "I tell the American people we will continue fighting you and we will continue martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States until you stop your injustice, and you end your foolishness."

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top