Bin Laden spokesman threatens new wave of attacks

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The Independent Online

Osama Bin Laden's al-Qa'ida organisation has threatened a new wave of suicide attacks on the United States.

An al-Qa'ida spokesman, Sulemain Abu gheith, speaking on Al-Jazeera Arabic television , said that the US and Britain had "opened a door that will never be closed" with the air strikes on Afghanistan.

"The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop, God willing, and there are thousands of young people who are as keen about death as Americans are about life." He called on Muslims across the world to join in a jihad, or holy war, calling it their "duty and responsibility".

Separately, Abdul Hai Muttmain, spokesman for Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, told the BBC's Pashtu-language service said there werre no longer any restrictions on bin Laden."Now that America has begun its war against Muslims, the situation is totally changed, and there are no restrictions on Osama," Muttmain said.

Speaking in a pre-recorded video, al-Qa'ida's Mr gheith said: "I direct this message to the entire Islamic nation and I say to them that the parts today have come together against the nation of Islam and Muslims. This is the crusade Bush has promised us.

"The Islamic nation, for 80 years, has been suffering, the Palestinian people have been living under the Jewish and Zionist occupation, and nobody moved to help them.

"The nation must know that terror and the terror the United States is declaring is only a trick. Is it possible that America and its allies would kill over all these years and that would not be called terrorism, and then the victim comes out and it is called revenge?"

Mr Abu gheith added: "America must know that the nation will not keep quiet. The jihad is today a duty of every Muslim. God says fight for the sake of God, to uphold the name of God." The spokesman then came the closest yet to admitting al-Qa'ida was behind the 11 September terror attacks and issued a further warning.

"Those youths who did what they did and destroyed America with their planes have done a good deed," he said. "The battle will not leave Islam until America leaves our lands, until it stops supporting Israel.

"The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop, God willing, and there are thousands of young people who are as keen about death as Americans are about life,"

"The Americans must know that by coming to Afghanistan they have opened a new page in the battle against the unbelievers. We shall be victorious. America has opened a door that will never be closed."

Mr Abu gheith, who was first seen sitting beside his leader in the chief suspect's video address on the same television station on Sunday, then appealed directly to young Muslims to join a holy war.

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