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Middle East
'Bin Laden' tape urges Gaza jihad
Purported voice of al-Qaeda leader criticises Arab leaders' response to Israel.
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 03:09 GMT
The tape, attributed to Osama bin Laden, criticised Arab governments' response to the war in Gaza [EPA]

An audio recording, attributed to Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, has called on Muslims to wage jihad against Israel over its offensive in Gaza.

The recording, which was dated to the current month in the Islamic calendar and called "A Call for Jihad to Stop the Aggression against Gaza", was posted on websites on Wednesday.

"God has bestowed us with the patience to continue the path of jihad," the voice on the tape, purported to be that of bin Laden, said.

"The question is, can America continue its war with us for several more decades to come? Reports and evidence would suggest otherwise."

It was not possible to independently verify the voice in the recording.

The 22-minute audio statement said jihad was necessary to restore "Jerusalem and Palestine" and criticised the way Arab governments have handled the war Israel has been waging in Gaza.

"Our brothers in Palestine, you have suffered a lot... the Muslims sympathise with you in what they see and hear. We, the mujahideen, sympathise with you also," the voice in the recording said.

He called on Muslims to rise in support of Gazans and not to rely on Arab leaders "the great majority of whom are allied with the Crusader-Zionist coalition".

Protests

Nearly 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive, and more than 4,000 others injured over the last three weeks. Israel says 13 Israelis have been killed.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the Arab world in protest against the attacks, but Arab government have responded with little concrete action against Israel.

The speaker on the recording also hailed the global financial crisis as a decline in US influence around the world and said it would, in turn, weaken Israel - one of Washington's closest allies.

Commenting on the recording, Gordon Johndroe, a US White House spokesman, said: "It appears this tape demonstrates his isolation and ... looks to be an effort to raise money as part of [al-Qaeda's] ongoing propaganda campaign."

Source:
Agencies
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