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Bin Laden releases new audiotape on Iraq

world Updated: Dec 30, 2007 10:48 IST
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Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, has issued a new audio message apparently aimed at stemming the tide of Sunnis joining Iraq's political process, a US-based monitoring group said.

Entitled "The Way to Foil Conspiracies on Iraq and the Islamic State," the video was released on Saturday by Al-Qaeda's media arm as-Sahab, containing a new 56-minute-long audio message with an old still image of Bin Laden, according to the IntelCenter.

In the message, Bin Laden accuses the US of plotting to take Iraq's oil and urges Sunni Muslims not to join the unity government or US-backed tribal councils that are battling Al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to pan-Arab television network al-Jazeera.

The Al-Qaeda leader also threatens to increase attacks against Israel, al-Jazeera reported.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto, cited by Fox News, said the new tape served to remind people that the aim of Al-Qaeda in Iraq was to "block" democracy from spreading in the region.

The US believes it has dealt Al-Qaeda a series of heavy defeats in the past months and reduced its influence, especially in the western Anbar province. Sunni tribal leaders have also begun turning against the network and joined so-called Awakening Councils that are backed by the US military.