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Alleged bin Laden tape urges Muslims to liberate Palestine

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: U.S. analyzing tape to see if speaker is Osama bin Laden, official says
  • Speaker: Liberating Palestine should be the aim of every Muslim
  • New message coincides with Israel's 60th birthday
  • The message, played on jihadist Web sites, runs 9 minutes and 40 seconds
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(CNN) -- A blunt new statement attributed to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urges his followers to liberate Palestine. The statement's release coincides with Israel's 60th anniversary.

art.bin.laden.afp.gi.jpg

This image accompanied a message from Osama bin Laden in November.

In the audio message, the speaker reiterates jihadist opposition to the existence of the Jewish state and its policies, and tells listeners that "liberating" Palestine should be the aim of every Muslim.

The message, titled "The Causes of Conflict on the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israeli Occupation," was released Thursday on jihadist Web sites, where it is played over a still image. It runs nine minutes and 40 seconds and is addressed to Western peoples.

A U.S. intelligence official said Friday the tape is being analyzed to see if the speaker is, in fact, bin Laden.

The official said it would be "no surprise" that bin Laden would issue a message against Israel. Al Qaeda seems to think such a message "resonates well in the Muslim world," he said.

The official was speaking on background because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the message.

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The speaker decries characterization of Palestinian militant groups as terror organizations. He also says Israel has engaged in terror.

"As your low values show double standards in one issue, you call the Palestinian organizations terror organizations. They were punished and ignored.

"On the other hand, the Israelis were killing civilians from women and children, either through car bombs as in Haifa and elsewhere. Or what is worse than that, when the Zionist organizations massacred Palestinian villagers by scaring him, deporting them, and robbing their lands, what was your stance?"

He singles out Menachem Begin, the late Israeli prime minister, and blames him for the events at Deir Yassin, a Palestinian Arab village where the killings of civilians occurred in 1948.

"What was the Westerner's stance on this? Instead of being punished for those crimes, he was appointed prime minister. That wasn't enough for them; they presented him with the Nobel Peace Prize," he said.

Today, the speaker says, "we are living the massacre of Gaza," the Palestinian-controlled territory. Israeli troops and Palestinian militants from Gaza have been fighting and Israeli security moves have had severe humanitarian consequences.

"It is happening in front of the eyes of the world. One and a half million individuals under the deadly bombing are dying slowly because of poor nutrition and scarcity of medicine," the speaker said. "But your politicians require Egypt's ruler to provision the embargo on them to choke the weak and most of them are women and children."

The speaker emphasizes the fighting will continue against "the Israelis and their allies, to obtain justice, to be fair to the ones mistreated."

"We will not abandon one inch of Palestine, God willing, if there is one honest Muslim man left in this world," the speaker said.

Bin Laden's last message came on March 20, when in an audiotape he called Iraq "the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine."

In an audiotape released the previous day, bin Laden condemned European countries for siding with the United States in Afghanistan and for allowing the publication of cartoons considered insulting to Islam's prophet Mohammed.

Al Qaeda -- which is responsible for the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States -- regularly condemns Zionism, the philosophical underpinning of Israel.

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President Bush referred to al Qaeda on Friday in an address to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in Jerusalem.

He decried the actions and the motivations of terrorists and noted that bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties."

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