| US President George W. Bush kisses Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s granddaughter Micaela at the Malacanang Palace grounds in Manila. (AP)
Dubai, Oct. 18 (Reuters): Arabic television station al Jazeera broadcast two audio tapes purportedly from Osama bin Laden today vowing more suicide attacks inside and outside the US and demanding Washington quit Iraq.
The speaker on the tapes urged Iraqis to wage a holy war against American “crusaders” in Iraq until an Islamic government was set up in Baghdad.
“You should know that this war (by the US-led occupiers in Iraq) is a new crusade against the Islamic world and is a fateful war for the whole (Muslim) nation,” the speaker said.
“We, God willing, will continue to fight you (Washington) and will continue martyrdom (suicide) operations inside and outside the US until you abandon your oppression and foolish acts.” The speaker said it was now clear US President George W. Bush had launched the war that ousted Saddam Hussein to fulfil a “Zionist” lobby aim of destroying Iraq’s military might and seizing its oil wealth.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the authenticity of the tapes, but the voice and style of speech were similar to bin Laden’s. No immediate comment was available from US officials.
The tapes appeared to be recent because the speaker accused former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned from his post only last month, of being a US agent.
Washington blames bin Laden’s al Qaida network for the September 11, 2001, suicide plane attacks on the US that prompted Bush to launch a war on terrorism. The tapes, one addressed to Americans and the other to Iraqis, said the US had been dragged into a quagmire in Iraq and that US soldiers would be foolish to stay.
US-led forces have occupied Iraq since toppling Saddam in in April, but American troops have come under daily and often deadly attacks that Washington blames on supporters of the former Iraqi President and what it calls foreign terrorists.
More than 100 US troops have been killed in Iraq since Bush declared major combat over on May 1. “I tell the American soldiers in Iraq... your presence on Iraqi soil is a deliberate injustice and a grave foolishness and you are dying so that others may live and profit,” the speaker said.
‘Your blood is being shed to fill the coffers of the White House gang and their arms dealers and large corporations.”
Last month, Qatar-based al Jazeera aired a video of bin Laden and his right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahri in which they urged fighters to turn Iraq into a graveyard for American troops.