According to the tape released on Friday, Bin Laden said: “The lion of jihad … Abu Musab al-Zarqawi … was killed in a US raid. We hope to God he accepts him as a martyr.”
The speaker sounded similar to previous recordings attributed to Bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s leader.
The authenticity of the tape, posted on a website often used by al-Qaeda, could not be immediately verified, but US intelligence officials said it was conducting tests.
“US intelligence is conducting technical analysis on the new tape, but at this point there is no reason to doubt it is real,” said a US counter-terrorism official, noting that it is the fourth tape from Bin Laden this year.
“This is part of al-Qaeda’s ongoing propaganda campaign and part of Bin Laden’s effort to demonstrate that he is still relevant.”
On the tape, bin Laden also said that al-Qaeda will continue fighting US forces and their allies.
“We will continue, God willing, to fight you [US forces] and your allies everywhere, in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Somalia and Sudan until we waste all your money and kill your men and you will return to your country in defeat as we defeated you before in Somalia.”
Earlier this month in a video, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, said the organisation would seek vengeance against the United States for the death of al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air strike in Baquba, Iraq, on June 8.
Last month, Bin Laden released an audiotape saying Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted in a US court for the September 11, 2001, attacks, had nothing to do with the operations.