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Officials confirm bin Laden's voice on tape

Osama bin Laden in file photo
Osama bin Laden in file photo

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Audiotape allegedly has bin Laden praising recent attacks in Bali and Moscow.
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April 11, 2002, Tunisian island of Djerba
Bombing of Ghriba synagogue kills more than 20 people, mostly German tourists.
May 8, Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide car bomber kills 11 French navy experts and two Pakistanis.
October 6, off Yemen coast
Explosive-packed boat attacks French tanker, killing one crewman.
October 8, Kuwait island Failaka
Two Kuwaiti civilians fire on U.S. Marines, killing one and wounding another.
October 12, Indonesia island of Bali
Bombings at nightclubs kill at least 180 people.
October 23-26, Moscow, Russia
Chechen gunmen hold several hundred hostages inside theater. More than 100 killed, mostly by gas used by Russian Special Forces.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. intelligence officials have formally concluded that the voice on the audiotape broadcast last week by the Qatar-based, Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera is "almost certainly the voice of Osama bin Laden" and that it was recorded in the last several weeks.

Officials said that although they believe the tape is genuine, they have no way to be sure "with 100 percent certainty."

But an official said, "There is no reason to believe that the tape was manufactured or altered."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan confirmed these conclusions and said the audiotape "is a reminder that we are at war on terrorism."

"It's a reminder that we need to continue doing everything we can to go after these terrorist networks and their leaders wherever they are. And we will," he said.

Linguists and translators have reviewed the tape, intelligence officials said, and it continues to be subjected to "highly sophisticated" technical analysis.

It is not known when the tape was recorded, but it refers to events as recent as October.

The tape also mentions ancient military campaigns, comparing U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney to Holako, a Tatar who invaded Baghdad in the 13th century. It exhorts other countries not to cooperate with the United States.

"And here's Cheney and Powell, killing and destroying many in Baghdad, more than ... Holako, the king of the Tatars," the voice says on the tape. "So why are your governments allying themselves with America in attacking us in Afghanistan, especially to mention Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia?"

The speaker refers to the killings of Germans in Tunisia and French in Pakistan in the past year and to the bombing of a French tanker off Yemen, the killing of a U.S. Marine in Kuwait and the seizure of a Moscow theater by Chechen rebels.

In addition, a statement this month on a Web site linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the October 12 bombing of a Bali nightclub that killed more than 180 people. The tape singles out Australia, which lost more people in the Bali attack than any other nation.

"Australia is the one that we have warned before not to participate in Afghanistan. Not to mention its continued awful chapter in East Timor," the tape says. "They ignored our warning, and they woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali, but the government pretended that they were not the target."

The latest tape also warns of more attacks and defends those threatened actions.

"Why is it acceptable for us to live with fear, murder, destruction, displacement, the orphaning of children and the widowing of women but peace, security and happiness should be for you?" the voice asks. "This is not fair. Now is the time to become equals. Just like you kill us, we will kill you."

CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor contributed to this report.

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