| A woman mourns during a vigil for victims of bomb blasts on a beach near Kuta in Bali on Monday. (Reuters)
Dubai, Oct. 14 (Reuters): The world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, today reportedly praised the perpetrators of last week’s anti-western attacks in Kuwait and Yemen and warned the US and Israel in a statement of more carnage to come.
The statement, faxed to Qatar’s Jazeera television and carried by Jazeera and at least one Islamist website (www.islammemo.com), could be the first conclusive proof that the Saudi-born militant had survived last year’s US-led military campaign in Afghanistan.
The typed text also blasted the US for planning to strike Iraq and accused Washington of trying to rob Arab nations of their “riches”, particularly crude oil.
“We congratulate the Muslim nation for the daring and heroic jihad operations which our brave sons conducted in Yemen against the Christian oil tanker and in Kuwait against the American occupation and aggression forces,” it said.
“By striking the oil tanker in Yemen with explosives, the attackers struck at the umbilical cord of the Christians, reminding the enemy of the bloody price they have to pay for continuing their aggression against our nation,” it added.
The text, which Jazeera said bore bin Laden’s signature, was referring to last Tuesday’s attack on US troops training on a Kuwaiti island which killed one Marine and to the October 6 blast which gutted the French-flagged tanker Limburg in the Gulf of Aden, killing one crewman.
The statement made no mention of the weekend bomb attack which killed 181 people, mostly young westerners, on the resort island of Bali and which Indonesia and other nations have linked to al Qaida.
“We renew our promise to God, and to the nation, and our promise to the Americans and Jews that they will not be at peace and should not dream of security until they let our nations be and stop their aggression and support for our enemies,” the statement added.
“The priority in this war at this stage must be against the infidels, the Americans and the Jews... who will not stop infringing upon us except through jihad,” it added.
Jazeera said it received the statement by fax.
An intelligence official in the US said that “if received electronically, it would be impossible to verify” (the signature).
In London, a cleric suspected of links with al Qaida said he believed the group played a role in the Bali bombings and would carry out similar attacks to combatwhat he called American arrogance.
Asked if he thought al Qaida took part in the Bali bombings, Abu Hamza al-Masri told Reuters: “Definitely”.
The London-based cleric is wanted on terrorism charges in Yemen and is suspected by the US of links with al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
He is suspected of helping to try and set up an al Qaida training camp in the US. Masri denies links to al Qaida but has expressed admiration for bin Laden.