|The US had doubled the reward for bin Laden to $50m in 2007 [GALLO/GETTY]|
Osama bin Laden, the deceased leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, his second-in-command, and their allies have purportedly broadcast more than 60 messages to the world since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
The following is a timeline of the major statements attributed to bin Laden since 2001.
January 21, 2011: In an audio message, bin Laden called for the withdrawal of French troops from Muslim lands in exchange for the release of French hostages being held by al-Qaeda affiliates.
“President Nicolas Sarkozy’s refusal to remove his forces from Afghanistan is nothing but a green light for killing the French hostages. We repeat the same message to you: The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country.”
October 27, 2010: In a new audio recording, bin Laden justified the kidnapping of five French citizens in Niger in September, calling the abductions the result of French injustices against Muslims and warning they will continue.
“How could it be fair that you intervene in the affairs of Muslims, in North and West Africa in particular, support your proxies [agents] against us, and take a lot of our wealth in suspicious deals, while our people there suffer various forms of poverty and despair?” the recording said.
October 1, 2010: After six months of silence, bin Laden released an audio recording expressing concern about global climate change and the floods in Pakistan.
“The number of victims caused by climate change is very big… bigger than the victims of wars,” said the voice, whose authenticity could not be immediately verified and was made available by SITE Intelligence Group.
March 25, 2010: Osama bin Laden in a new audio recording threatened to kill any Americans that al-Qaeda takes prisoner if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered as one of the masterminds behind the September 11 attacks, was executed.
“The day America will take such decision [to execute Mohammed and any others] it would have taken a decision to execute whoever we capture,” Bin Laden said on the tape.
January 24, 2010: Al Jazeera obtains a purported audio tape of Osama bin Laden, in which he claims responsibility for the failed attack on a US airliner on December 25.
“The message I want to convey to you through the plane of the hero Omar Farouk [Abdulmutallab], reaffirms a previous message that the heroes of 9/11 conveyed to you,” bin Laden says on the tape.
He warns there will be more attacks unless the US finds a solution to the Palestinian situation.
September 25, 2009: Bin Laden calls on European nations to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan in an audio tape, saying they were sacrificing men and money in an unjust US-led war.
The tape, released on the internet with a background picture of bin Laden, has German and English subtitles. The release of the message comes two days before Germany’s general election.
September 14, 2009: Bin Laden says Barack Obama, the US president, is “powerless” to stop the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He warns the American people over their government’s close ties to Israel, saying it is time for them to free themselves from the grip of neo-conservatives and the Israeli lobby.
“The reason for our dispute with you is your support for your ally Israel, occupying our land in Palestine,” he says.
June 3, 2009: Bin Laden says in an audio message that Obama has planted the seeds of “revenge and hatred towards America” in the Muslim world and warned Americans to prepare for the consequences.
March 14, 2009: The al-Qaeda leader accuses moderate Arab leaders of plotting with the West against Muslims and being complicit with Israel in the 22-day offensive on Gaza, in an audio recording.
January 14, 2009: Bin Laden, in an audio recording, calls for a new “jihad” to end the Israeli war in Gaza.
He also calls 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”.
May 18, 2008: Bin Laden urges Muslims to break the Israeli-led blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and fight Arab governments that deal with Israel, in an audiotape posted on the internet.
May 16, 2008: Bin Laden, in an audio tape message posted on the internet, addresses “Western peoples”, and calls for the fight against Israel to continue and says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of the Muslim battle with the West.
March 19, 2008: In an audio recording, bin Laden threatens the European Union with grave punishment over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed.
He also says the best way for Muslims to help Palestinians is to support Iraqis fighting against the government and US forces.
November 29, 2007: Bin Laden urges European countries to end their alliance with US forces in Afghanistan.
September 7, 2007: Osama bin Laden appears in his first videotape in nearly three years, to mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
In a message to the American people, he threatens to escalate the war in Iraq and says the US is vulnerable despite its economic and military power.
May 23 2006: Bin Laden says he masterminded the September 11 attacks and that Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted for the attacks, had no part in them, in a recorded message posted on the internet.
January 19, 2006: Bin Laden threatens a fresh attack against the United States but offers the American people a conditional “long-term truce” in an audiotape message.
The tape came after more than a year of silence from the al-Qaeda leader.
April 15, 2004: Bin Laden delivers a message to European nations, saying, “I present a reconciliation initiative … to stop operations against all [European] countries if they promise not to be aggressive towards Muslims”.
October 18, 2003: Bin Laden speaks out against the Iraq war in an audiotape, saying: “We will go on fighting you and we will carry on martyrdom operations.
“We reserve the right to retaliate… against all countries that take part in this unjust [Iraq] war, namely Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy”.
September 9, 2002: In an audiotape, bin Laden evokes the attacks on New York and Washington, saying “we speak of the men who changed the course of history and cleansed the … filth of treacherous rulers and their subordinates”.
December 27, 2001: In a video tape, bin Laden says: “Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people”.
October 7, 2001: Bin Laden claims “America has been hit by Allah at its most vulnerable point, destroying, thank God, its most prestigious buildings”, in an audiotape referencing the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.