- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 19, 2006

CAIRO (AP) — Osama bin Laden promised never to be captured alive and declared that the United States had resorted to the same “repressive” tactics used by Saddam Hussein, according to an audiotape apparently by the al Qaeda leader that was posted today on a militant Web site.

The tape appeared to be a complete version of one that was first broadcast Jan. 19 on Al Jazeera, in which bin Laden offered the United States a long-term truce but said his al Qaeda terror network soon would launch a fresh attack on American soil.

“I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don’t want to die humiliated or deceived,” bin Laden said.

In comparing U.S. military behavior in Iraq to tactics used by Saddam, he said: “The jihad is continuing with strength, for Allah be all the credit, despite all the barbarity, the repressive steps taken by the American Army and its agents, to the extent that there is no longer any mentionable difference between this criminality and the criminality of Saddam.”

With the criticism of the ousted Iraqi dictator, bin Laden appeared to be denying assertions by the Bush administration that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda.

The tape’s release in January came days after a U.S. air strike in Pakistan that targeted bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and reportedly killed four leading al Qaeda figures, including al-Zawahri’s son-in-law. There was no mention of the attack on the segments that were broadcast.

Speaking directly to the American people, bin Laden said: “You can rescue whatever you can from this hell. The solution is in your hands, if [the U.S. troops’] situation matters to you at all.”

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