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Purported bin Laden tape offers gold for Bremer

Bounty also offered for U.N. secretary-general


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CNN's David Ensor on a new audio message purportedly from Osama bin Laden offering gold to anyone who kills U.S. Iraq administrator Paul Bremer or top U.S. military officers.

CNN analysis: Is the al Qaeda leader trying to influence the debate in Europe on Iraq?

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(CNN) -- A new audiotape message purportedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and posted on an Islamic Web site Thursday offers 22 pounds of gold to anyone who kills Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer or top U.S. military officers.

A reward of gold is also offered for anyone who kills U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan or Annan's envoy to Iraq, Ladkhar Brahimi.

The message denounces U.N. efforts, led by Brahimi, to organize the transfer of power from the provisional authority to an interim Iraqi government June 30, calling the United Nations "a Zionists' tool."

The voice on the 20-minute audiotape, reviewed by CNN, appears to be that of bin Laden. But the speaker's identity has not yet been confirmed by intelligence officials.

If the message is indeed from bin Laden, it would mark a new tactic for the al Qaeda leader -- offering a financial reward for killing specific officials.

The message suggested that the bounties were being offered in response to rewards the United States has offered for wanted figures in Afghanistan and Iraq, including bin Laden.

Those rewards go up to $25 million.

In addition to Bremer, Annan and Brahimi, the message also offers a reward of 10,000 grams in gold to anyone who kills "the American chief commander or his deputy in Iraq." It did not specify a name.

At current prices, that quantity of gold would be worth about $137,000.

"You know that America promised big rewards for those who kill mujahedeen [holy warriors]," the message said. "We in the al Qaeda organization will guarantee, God willing, 10,000 grams of gold to whoever kills the occupier, Bremer, or the American chief commander or his deputy in Iraq."

The message calls the handover of power to the Iraqis an "overt trick to anesthetize the people and abort the military resistance."

In response to the tape, a U.N. spokesman said, "We're taking this seriously. In consultations with the host country [the United States], we are taking additional measures regarding the secretary-general's security."

The message said that those who die while killing coalition soldiers in Iraq, "the great prize will be for us and for him when God grants him martyrdom."

Bin Laden was last heard from in April.

In that audiotape, the speaker offers a "truce" or "nonaggression" to any European country that stops "attacking Muslims" but excludes the United States from any such deal.

The speaker gave a three-month deadline, starting April 15, for countries to stop "attacking Muslims." He mentioned Iraq but not in the specific context of the U.S.-led war.

European politicians immediately ruled out negotiating with bin Laden.

"It is completely unthinkable that we could start negotiations with bin Laden. Everyone understands that," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters at the time.

The CIA -- after evaluating the previous tape -- said that although it was impossible to be absolutely sure the voice on the tape was bin Laden's, it most likely was.

In the April tape, the speaker also threatened revenge on the United States for the death of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was killed March 22 in an Israeli targeted helicopter attack in Gaza City.

He also referred to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the March 11, 2004, Madrid train bombings as examples of actions al Qaeda had taken in response to what he called attacks on Muslims.


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