Bin Laden deputy vows to target Americans ''everywhere''
An audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden's deputy in al-Qaeda, aired on Arab television Friday, warned that the network would target Americans "in their homeland" and would drive U.S. forces from bases in the Middle East region.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV aired excerpts from a 10-minute tape it said was recorded by Ayman al-Zawahri, the No. 2 figure in bin Laden's network. The channel's editors said they received the tape earlier Friday through the mail.
The speaker on the tape, whose voice resembled al-Zawahri's, mentioned a visit in Iraq by U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, which took place in late October. The speaker did not mention last weekend's capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The speaker also denied that the resistance U.S. troops are facing in Iraq comes mainly from Saddam loyalists. He said the resistance fighters were "holy warriors." "It is a real and authentic holy war of the Iraqi people," he said.
"Two years after Tora Bora, the American bloodshed started to increase in Iraq, and the Americans have become unable to defend themselves or even defend their big criminals such as Wolfowitz," he said.
He was referring to an Oct. 26 rocket attack that barraged the Baghdad hotel where Wolfowitz was staying. A U.S. colonel was killed in that attack, and Wolfowitz escaped unharmed. "We are still chasing the Americans and their allies everywhere, even in their homeland," he said.
Al-Jazeera's newscaster quoted the tape as saying: "Those renegades who offered the Americans military bases and support to kill Muslims should prepare for the day of settling scores because the Americans are ready to flee." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)