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Osama Bin Laden
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Bin Laden: We will liberate Palestine 'from Jordan to the sea'
Al-Qaeda leader issues unusually direct threat against Israel, promising Palestinians his organization plans to expand its jihad to the region. 'We will not recognize even once inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have,' says Bin Laden in audio recording posted to website

Osama Bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against joining tribal councils fighting al-Qaeda or participating in any unity government in a new audiotape posted on the Web on Saturday.

 

Bin Laden also made an unusually sharp threat of attacks against Israel, saying, ''I would like to assure our people in Palestine that we will expand our jihad there.''

 

''We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea,'' he said, threatening ''blood for blood, destruction for destruction.''

 

Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders frequently vow to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine in their messages. But the latest comments were a more direct language than Bin Laden usually uses. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaeda activity in Palestinian territory, but the terror network is not believed to have taken a strong direct role there so far.

 

''We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have,'' Bin Laden said.

 

Denounces 'Awakening Councils' in Iraq

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, in the latest attempt by al-Qaeda to keep its supporters and other insurgents in Iraq unified behind it at a time when the US military claims to have al-Qaeda's Iraq branch on the run.

 

A number of Sunni Arab tribes in Iraq's western Anbar province have formed a coalition fighting al-Qaeda-linked insurgents that US officials credit for deeply reducing violence in the province. The US military has been working to form similar ''Awakening Councils'' in other areas of Iraq.

 

In the audiotape, Bin Laden denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qaeda.

 

''The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life,'' Bin Laden said.

 

Bin Laden said US and Iraqi officials are seeking to set up a ''national unity government'' joining the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

 

''Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq, which would be a wall of resistance against American schemes to divide Iraq,'' he said.

 

The authenticity of the tape could not be independently confirmed. But the voice resembled that of Bin

Laden. The tape was posted on an Islamic militant Web site where al-Qaeda's media arm, Al-Sahab, issues the group's messages.

 

The tape was the fifth message released by Bin Laden this year, a flurry of activity after he went more than a year without issuing any tapes. The messages began with a Sept. 8 video that showed Bin Laden for the first time in nearly three years. The other messages this year have been audiotapes.

 

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