Purported bin Laden tape offers Americans terror or truce
Last Updated Thu, 19 Jan 2006 12:20:36 EST
An audiotape purported to be from Osama bin Laden has been aired on an Arabic satellite TV channel, nearly a week after a U.S.-sponsored air strike that may have killed several of the al-Qaeda leader's lieutenants in Pakistan.
•RELATED STORY: CIA-sponsored attack killed 3 senior al-Qaeda members: Pakistan
Apparently addressing the American people directly, a voice on the tape declares that new attacks on the United States are being prepared and "you will see them in the heart of your land as soon as the planning is complete."
But it also makes a vague reference to a possible truce with the United States.
•INDEPTH: Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda
It remains unclear whether the tape is genuine and, if so, when it was made. It has been uncertain whether bin Laden, who has not been heard from in more than a year, is still alive.
•FROM DEC. 16, 2004: Alleged bin Laden tape posted on website
In the tape, broadcast by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, the speaker refers to attacks in Europe, presumably the commuter-train bombings of 2004 in Madrid and last summer's transit bombings in London.
As translated from Arabic by CNN, the voice says: "I would also like to say that the war against America and its allies will not be confined to Iraq. Iraq has become a magnet for attracting and training talented fighters.
"Our mujahadeen [holy warriors] were able to overcome all security measures in European countries, and you saw their operation in major European capitals," the voice adds.
'Only a matter of time'
"As for similar operations taking place in America, it's only a matter of time. They are in the planning stages and you will see them in the heart of your land as soon as the planning is complete."
But it also says, "we do not mind offering you a truce that is fair and long term ... so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan ... There is no shame in this solution because it prevents wasting of billions of dollars ... to merchants of war," the Associated Press reported.
The conditions for such a truce were not made clear.
Last Friday's U.S. air strike, possibly involving missiles fired from remotely piloted aircraft, is thought to have been aimed at bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
It levelled a residential compound, killing as many as 18 civilians, including women and children, and two men described as senior members of bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. Al-Zawahiri is believed to have escaped.
On its website, Al-Jazeera posted extensive excerpts from the tape, including these:
"This message is about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to end those wars.
Wars 'definitely going our way'
"It was not my intention to talk to you about this, because those wars are definitely going our way.
"But what triggered my desire to talk to you is the continuous deliberate misinformation given by your President [George W.] Bush, when it comes to polls made in your home country which reveal that the majority of your people are willing to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.
Other excerpts apparently aimed at Americans:
• "If your desire for peace, stability and reconciliation was true, here we have given you the answer to your call."
• "I would like to tell you that everything is going to our advantage and the number of your dead is increasing, according to Pentagon figures."
• "The new operations of al-Qaeda has not happened not because we could not penetrate the security measures. It is being prepared and you'll see it in your homeland very soon."
• "We do not mind establishing a long-term truce between us and you."