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Purported bin Laden tape surfaces

By Associated Press
Published April 9, 2003

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - An audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden exhorts Muslims to rise up against Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other governments it claims are "agents of America," and calls for suicide attacks against U.S. and British interests to "avenge the innocent children" of Iraq.

The 27-minute tape quotes extensively from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and says jihad, or holy war, is the "only solution to all the problems."

The tape was obtained Monday by the Associated Press from an Algerian national, known as Aadil, who said he had slipped across the border from Afghanistan, where the tape was apparently recorded.

There was no way immediately to confirm the voice on the tape was that of the al-Qaida chief. But it was translated by an Arabic-speaking Afghan who met with the terrorist mastermind years ago and said he believed the voice seemed to be bin Laden's.

There also was no clear indication of when the tape was made, although it makes references to the war in Iraq and the leaders who launched it, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"You should avenge the innocent children who have been assassinated in Iraq. Be united against Bush and Blair and defeat them with suicide attacks so that you may be successful before Allah," the voice urges.

"Oh Muslim brothers, let us promise to devote our lives to martyrdom in the way of Allah. America has attacked Iraq and soon will also attack Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan. You should be aware that non-Muslims cannot bear the existence of Muslims and want to capture their resources and destroy them."

The voice purported to be bin Laden's urges the faithful to attack governments in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"All of them have been imposed upon you and jihad against them is your duty," the tape says.

The only other person identified by name on the tape was Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai. "One of the slaves of America is Karzai in Afghanistan because he supported non-Muslims over Muslims. Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi are also agents of America."

Bin Laden, the top suspect behind the Sept. 11 attacks, has been in hiding since a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban regime that gave him protection in Afghanistan. He is believed to cross back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

[Last modified April 9, 2003, 02:16:40]