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Al Qaeda tape: More attacks planned

Al Qaeda spokesman: 'Bin Laden alive, leadership safe'

Bin Laden
The spokesman said bin Laden was in "good health" and rumors of injuries were "untrue."  

DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri are alive and the group is "going to launch attacks against America," according to audiotaped remarks by an al Qaeda spokesman aired Sunday.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the spokesman, also claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in April on the historic synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba.

The message also said that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban now on the run, is still alive and that "98 percent of the leadership of al Qaeda are safe" and are running their affairs smoothly.

He boasted that the American military operation against al Qaeda has not resulted in its destruction, saying that the "system is still there and it is operating at full power."

He said "our military and security systems are currently watching and investigating new targets different from the ones that are already targeted."

"Our martyrs are ready for operations against American and Jewish targets inside and outside. America should be prepared. It should be ready. They should fasten the seat belts. We are coming to them where they never expected.

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"The current American administration every once in a while releases terrorist attack warnings. I say yes, yes [to] what the America officials are saying that we are going to launch attacks against America. Yes, we are going to launch attacks against America."

A Bush administration source said officials were reserving judgment until they listened to the tape themselves and can determine its authenticity.

Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language TV network -- which broadcast the message -- said it received the tape from Abu Ghaith, who said bin Laden soon will appear on television.

"I really want to assure the Muslims that Sheikh Osama bin Laden, with the mercy of Allah, is in a good health and all rumors about Sheikh Osama's sickness of injuries in Tora Bora is completely inaccurate news. Also, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rumors of his injuries are completely inaccurate news."

Abu Ghaith praised al Qaeda "victories," citing the September 11 attacks, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

System 'still there'

"Allah made us victories in this century or the last few years of the past century and the beginning of this century -- a historical and great victory that broke the back of the Americans, the largest power in this world.

"The war between us and the enemies of Allah is still there. And as long as America insists on unjust policy against the Muslims, in favor of the Jews and in favor of the Christians in the world, we will not stop, Allah is willing, striking her [America] anywhere in the world."

Abu Ghaith said al Qaeda's operations, including "military, financial, media and others" remain sound.

"The American operation was not able to destroy the organization. The system is still there. And it is operating at full power. And it's operating with higher energy and more determination to continue and revenge for the blood of the innocent. Al Qaeda is not a fragile organization as some might think."

He said the group still has "the ability to threaten America and execute those threats. The few coming days and months will prove to the whole world the truth of our words."

Tape appears new

Such attacks will be "in the time we choose and the place we choose and the method we choose. Not Dick Cheney, not the American secretary of defense, not the American president can determine the place, the method and the means that will use to launch those operations."

When Al Jazeera introduced the recording on the air, it said the tape appeared new because Abu Ghaith referred to the current controversy over whether President Bush was aware of the possibility of the September 11 attacks.

Abu Ghaith said administration statements are "a cover for ugly face. And it is a cover for the attack of the Democratic Party on the Republican Party after the America president announced that he knew about the September 11 attacks and big economic problems that the American government is suffering from."

As for the synagogue attack, which killed 21 people, including 14 Germans, Abu Ghaith said it was carried out by a "young man" in the group.

"He could not stand to see his brothers in Palestine getting killed and slaughtered ... [while] Jews in the city of Djerba are walking around and practicing their rituals as they please."




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