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Reporter: Al Qaeda issues new threat

statement
The statement comes just days after Al-Jazeera broadcast an audiotaped statement reportedly made by Osama bin Laden.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A new statement purported to be from the terrorist network al Qaeda warns the United States to "stop your support for Israel against the Palestinians, for Russians against the Chechens and leave us alone, or expect us in Washington and New York."

"Do not force us to ship you in coffins," it says.

Chief investigative correspondent Yosri Fouda, for the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television station told CNN he received the document "through previously tested channels" and believes it to be authentic. CNN had no way to verify the authenticity of the statement.

Fouda says the document appears to be an attempt by al Qaeda to explain its intentions and demands, and it warns what will happen if those demands are not answered.

"They are posing two questions in their words and I quote: 'Why are we in jihad and why are we resisting you?' and secondly, 'To what are we inviting you and what do we want from you?'"

Fouda quoted the document as justifying its enmity with Israel and the United States, and mentions Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush by name.

"If Sharon and Bush are men of peace, we are also men of peace," Fouda translated from the Arabic document.

"The threats are threats we heard before," Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." "They reveal nothing new to us in this latest document."

Fouda noted that al Qaeda had previously placed the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf "holy lands" as the group's first priority. But now, he said, the Palestinian issue is its first priority.

Chechnya, Kashmir, the Philippines and the Iraqi government are also issues raised in the letter, Fouda said, which ends with a call for the American people to convert to Islam.

On Iraq, the document states: "You are placing Muslims under siege in Iraq where children die every day. Oh how weird that you don't care for 1.5 million Iraqi children who died under siege. But when 3,000 of your compatriots died, the whole world was shaken."

The statement comes just days after Al-Jazeera broadcast an audiotaped statement said to have been made by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

In it, the speaker praises terror attacks in Yemen, Kuwait, Bali and Moscow as a response "to how the Muslims have been treated" and warns U.S. allies, "Just like you kill us, we will kill you."

Ahmed Mwaffac Zeidan, Al-Jazeera's Islamabad bureau chief, said in his column Wednesday in Al-Hayat, a London-based Arabic language newspaper, that he obtained the tape in Pakistan.

Intelligence analysts are still working to authenticate the tape.

"Yes, it is his voice," a U.S. State Department official said Wednesday morning. "But we don't know yet whether anybody put it together, spliced, or computer-generated" it. (More on voice analysis)

The tape also characterizes the Bush administration as "the biggest murderers of the century."

"Bush, the pharaoh of the century, is killing our children in Iraq and Israel, an American ally, is bombing homes with elderly women and children inside using American planes in Palestine. This is enough for the wise of your leaders to stay away from this band of terror," the statement says.

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

The tape has not convinced the administration that bin Laden is alive, another official said.

"This does not change the administration's position that, short of having Osama bin Laden in our possession, we do not know if he is dead or alive," said a senior Bush administration official.



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