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Purported bin Laden tape aired

An audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden aired on the Arabic network Al-Jazeera on Sunday.
An audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden aired on the Arabic network Al-Jazeera on Sunday.

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Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera airs an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden. CNN's Mike Boettcher reports (January 5)
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(CNN) -- The Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera aired an audiotape Sunday in which a man purporting to be al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden referred to recent events, including the December 13 capture of Saddam Hussein.

CNN could not confirm that the speaker was bin Laden.

U.S. officials are analyzing the recording. A CIA spokesman said "it usually takes a couple of days" to determine "who we think it is" and when it was made.

The speaker on the tape called on Muslims to overthrow regimes in the Middle East that are working with the United States or participating in peace efforts with Israel.

In an apparent reference to Iraq, the voice said Persian Gulf leaders know "their turn is coming" now that they have seen "the capture of their former comrade in betrayal and treason and puppetry to America."

The speaker referred to other recent events such as the December 1 launching of an unofficial peace plan by Israelis and Palestinians in Geneva and the November 8 suicide bombing of a residential compound in Riyadh, Saudi.

The bombing, for which al Qaeda later claimed responsibility, killed 17 people, most of them Arabs.

The last tape U.S. officials said likely did contain bin Laden's voice aired October 18. The officials said references on the tape indicated it had been recorded at some point during the past three months.

Speaker states he is bin Laden

Unlike previous tapes attributed to bin Laden, the tape began with the speaker stating that he is Osama bin Laden. He then named recent events, perhaps in an attempt to prove that bin Laden is still alive.

The speaker called on Muslims to form a council to run the Middle East and lead a jihad against governments in the region.

The voice said "it is imperative that those governments have to be brought down," because in working with the "infidels" they "shed the blood of their brothers and sisters."

Persian Gulf leaders, the speaker said, are not capable of defending the Islamic nation. "There is no dialogue except with weapons," he said.

Railing against the "Zionists" and "crusaders," the man said the U.S.-led war in Iraq was part of a "religious and economic war" to control the Arab world.

"Today, Baghdad; tomorrow, Riyadh," the speaker said.

Citing the Geneva initiative and the road map for Middle East peace backed by the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the United States, he called on Muslims to fight all efforts at achieving peace with Israel.

"If you don't take them on in Jerusalem, they'll take your two holy sites," he said, referring to Mecca and Medina.

There was no specific call for attacks against the United States at home, as was the case in previous tapes.


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