Sat, May 17, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Bin Laden vows to continue war to liberate Palestine

AP , CAIRO

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said in a new audio message released yesterday that the terrorist organization will continue its holy war against Israel and its allies until it liberates Palestine.

The terrorist leader’s third message this year came as US President George W. Bush was wrapping up his visit to Israel to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state.

Bin Laden said the fight for the Palestinian cause was the most important factor driving al-Qaeda’s war with the West and fueled 19 Muslims to carry out the suicide attacks against the US on Sept. 11.

“To Western nations ... this speech is to understand the core reason of the war between our civilization and your civilizations. I mean the Palestinian cause,” said bin Laden in the close to 10 minute message.

“The Palestinian cause is the major issue for my [Islamic] nation. It was an important element in fueling me from the beginning and the 19 others with a great motive to fight for those subjected to injustice and the oppressed,” bin Laden said.

The authenticity of the message could not be verified, but it was posted on a Web site commonly used by al-Qaeda and the voice resembled the one in past bin Laden audiotapes.

IntelCenter, a US group that monitors al-Qaeda message traffic, said the audio message was accompanied by a photo of bin Laden wearing a white robe and turban next to a picture of the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. It was unclear when the photo of bin Laden was taken.

The al-Qaeda leader said the Western media managed to brainwash people over the past 60 years by “portraying the Jewish invaders, the occupiers of our land, as the victims while it portrayed us as the terrorists.”

“Sixty years ago, the Israeli state didn’t exist. Instead, it was established on the land of Palestine raped by force,” said bin Laden. “Israelis are occupying invaders whom we should fight.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel dismissed bin Laden’s new message.

“We do not relate or pay attention to the words of this terrorist lunatic,” he said. “The time has come for him to be apprehended and pay for his crimes.”

Bin Laden criticized Western leaders like the US president who participated in Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations. Bush feted Israel on Thursday and predicted that its 120th birthday would find it alongside a Palestinian state and in an all-democratic neighborhood free of today’s oppression, restrictions on freedom and extremist Muslim movements.

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