- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
- Law firm that cleared N.J. Gov. Christie in ‘Bridgegate’ gave 10K to RGA, which he heads
- PETA ‘hopping mad’ at Michelle Obama for using real eggs at Easter Egg Roll
- Sneaky Nebraska toddler traps self inside claw machine game
- Biden to lead $600 million work force training effort
- Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’
- Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas City show
‘Zionist’ war seen by bin Laden
CAIRO — Osama bin Laden issued new threats in an audiotape broadcast yesterday while accusing Western powers of supporting a “Zionist” war on Islam by cutting off funds to the Hamas-led Palestinian government.
He also urged followers to go to Sudan, his former base, to fight a proposed U.N. peacekeeping force.
It was the first message in three months from the al Qaeda leader, who is thought to be hiding in a remote tribal area along Afghanistan’s 1,500-mile border with Pakistan.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said U.S. intelligence officials think the tape is authentic and that it proved that “the al Qaeda leadership is on the run and under a lot of pressure.” U.S. intelligence officials familiar with bin Laden’s pursuit said they think he has become separated from his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, who is thought to be hiding in a more settled area along the same border.
Each is surrounded by operatives of his own nationality, and some U.S. security officials think the two may have had a split, the intelligence officials said. Neither man mentions the other by name in public pronouncements, and both headed separate groups before joining forces in 1998.
In the statement broadcast yesterday on Arab television, bin Laden appeared to be trying to provoke Arabs by accusing the West of targeting Hamas, a militant group that fights Israel and now heads the Palestinian government.
Citing the Western aid cutoff to the Hamas-led government because it refuses to renounce violence or recognize Israel, bin Laden said Washington and Europe were waging war on Islam.
“The blockade which the West is imposing on the government of Hamas proves that there is a Zionist, crusaders’ war on Islam,” said the tape, which U.S. intelligence officials think is authentic.
Al Qaeda is not thought to have direct links to Hamas, which is an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quick to distance the group from bin Laden, declaring that “the ideology of Hamas is totally different from the ideology of Sheik bin Laden.”
The groups do share an anti-Israel ideology that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, and Middle East press and broadcast reports have said al Qaeda is trying to build cells in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon and Sudan.
Concerning Sudan, bin Laden called on “mujahedeen and their supporters, especially in Sudan and the Arab Peninsula, to prepare for a long war against the crusader plunderers in Western Sudan. Our goal is not defending the Khartoum government but to defend Islam, its land and its people.”
“I urge holy warriors to be acquainted with the land and the tribes in Darfur,” he said, adding that they should be aware that the rainy season approaches and that will hamper their movement.
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- EDITORIAL: Intolerance at Brandeis silences Muslim dissident Hirsi Ali
- Kirsten Dunst: Actress sparks feminist ire: 'You need a man to be a man'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.