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U.S. official: Tape 'almost certainly' bin Laden

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The Arab television network Al-Jazeera broadcast the latest audiotape on Tuesday.

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CNN's Andrea Koppel reports that Secretary of State Colin Powell says the alleged bin Laden tape is evidence of an al Qaeda-Iraq link (February 12)
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A portion of the purportedly new audio message from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden calls on Muslims to fight 'the infidels' (February 11)
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CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Octavia Nasr examine a portion of the purported bin Laden audiotape on which he calls on Muslims to defend Iraq if attacked by the U.S. (February 11)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A technical analysis of the tape aired earlier this week on the Al-Jazeera satellite network shows the voice on the tape "almost certainly" is that of Osama bin Laden, a U.S. official said Friday.

The analysis of the tape by the U.S. intelligence community has been completed, the official said.

The 16-minute message believed to be from the al Qaeda leader was broadcast Tuesday on the Qatar-based, Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera.

"We want to let you know and confirm to you that this war of the infidels that the U.S. is leading with its allies ... we are with you and we will fight in the name of God," the speaker said. (Excerpts)

"Our brothers the mujahedeen in Iraq, don't worry about America's lies and their powers and their military might," he said. "We also advise you to drag the forces into fighting you in street fights. Take them into farms, into cities, and fight them in there ... they will be losing a lot of lives." (Iraqi military movements)

U.S. officials said this tape was of much better quality than the previous one presumed to be from bin Laden, which Al-Jazeera broadcast in November.

Word of the tape first emerged Tuesday when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel a new message had surfaced believed to be bin Laden claiming he is "in partnership with Iraq."

But while the broadcast message declared solidarity with Iraqis, it made no mention of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and even denounced his socialist Baath party as "infidels."

However, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher defended Powell's assessment that bin Laden and Hussein were "bound by a common hatred," despite their very different ideologies.

Boucher said bin Laden confirmed that in the tape. "He says it doesn't matter if people are socialist -- we're going to fight together with them to destroy everything that we can."

On the tape, the purported voice of bin Laden said that whomever helps America in any war on Iraq -- even by words -- has "to know that they are outside this Islamic nation. Jordan and Morocco and Nigeria and Saudi Arabia should be careful that this war, this crusade, is attacking the people of Islam first."

He urged "good Muslims" to join together in overthrowing "leaderships that work as a slave to America" and encouraged suicide attacks against the so-called enemies of Islam.

A senior Bush administration official who listened to the tape said, "At best, it is a terrorist making common cause with a brutal dictator and at worst, it demonstrates a burgeoning alliance of terror."


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