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Osama offers truce with Europe
April 15, 2004 13:18 IST
An Arabic TV channel has aired a tape which it claims is from Osama Bin Laden in which he offers a truce to European states, report agencies.
"I present a reconciliation initiative... and we are committed to stopping operations against all (European) countries if they commit to not being aggressive towards Muslims," said the voice on the tape aired by the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya channel. There would be no truce with the US, it said.
According to CNN, the CIA said the speaker was "likely" the voice of bin Laden.
Al Arabiya declined comment on how it received the tape, in which the speaker also vowed revenge for the death of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was killed March 22 in an Israeli targeted helicopter attack in Gaza City, said CNN. "We vow before God to take revenge for him from America for this, God willing."
The speaker "also refers to the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States and the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings as examples of actions al Qaeda has taken in response to attacks on Muslims."
The message said the truce would last three months and could be extended. The objective of the truce was to deny "the war mongers" further opportunities.
"Stop spilling our blood so we can stop spilling your blood. This is a difficult but easy equation."
The last tape believed to have been recorded by bin Laden aired in January by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network.
In London, British shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram told the BBC that "It is obviously an attempt by al Qaida or the associates of al Qaida, to try and drive a wedge between the coalition." Whether or not it was the fugitive terror chief, it was a sign that Al Qaeda was rattled, he said.
"They are frightened about the effectiveness of the coalition. They would like to think that they can frighten the Europeans out of the Coalition, particularly in the fight against them. I think we have got to make absolutely sure that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder within the coalition in the fight against bin Laden, al Qaida and international terrorism," he said.