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Bin Laden slams West over Israel

The Al-Qaeda chief slams western leaders for taking part in Israel's 60th birthday celebrations and vows that Muslims would fight and not give up "one inch of Palestine".

world Updated: May 16, 2008 19:56 IST

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden slammed western leaders for taking part in Israel's 60th birthday celebrations and vowed that Muslims would fight and not give up "one inch of Palestine," in an audio message on Friday.

"The participation of western leaders with the Jews in this celebration confirms that the West supports this ugly Jewish occupation of our lands and that they stand in the Israelis' trench against us," Bin Laden said in the "message to Western peoples" posted on the Internet.

"We will continue the fight against the Israelis and their allies... and we will not give up one inch of Palestine, God willing, as long as there is one sincere Muslim on this earth," the message added.

The message, which lasted nearly 10 minutes and was posted on a website used by Islamist militants, came as US President George W Bush took part in celebrations of Israel's 60th anniversary, an occasion marked by Palestinians as the "catastrophe" which led to their dispossession.

The audio was titled "A message from Sheikh Osama bin Laden to Western peoples: the causes of the conflict on the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israeli occupation."

"Bush's promises to (set up a Palestinian) state in the full sense of the word are empty promises," bin Laden said.

"Jihad (holy war) is a duty to liberate Palestine," he added.

The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, but the voice appeared to be that of the Al-Qaeda chief, who has taken credit for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

It was accompanied by an image of a white turbaned bin Laden.

In his previous message on March 20, bin Laden urged Muslims to support the insurgency in Iraq as the best way to help the Palestinians, and accused Arab leaders of backing Israeli attacks on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

In the latest message, bin Laden again blasted the "Gaza massacre."
The slaughters that began at Deir Yassin at the time of Israel's establishment in 1948 never stopped, he said.

"Here's the Gaza massacre ... unfolding today in full view of the whole world -- one and a half million people under a killing blockade, exposed to a slow death as a result of malnutrition and lack of medicines," the Al-Qaeda chief said of the crippling Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, run by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Western leaders also pressure "the ruler of Egypt (President Hosni Mubarak) to tighten the blockade" from his side of the border with Gaza, bin Laden said.

In an apparent reference to Bush, bin Laden said "terrorism and armed robbery" that began with the creation of Israel on usurped Palestinian land was being practised now by "the commander of the mightiest military machine on earth."

And he told Western peoples: "I address you today so that you will know one of the main causes of the conflict between our civilisation and yours, namely the Palestinian issue.

"It is my nation's pivotal issue, and hence it was an important factor in giving me since childhood, and giving the 19 free men (who carried out the 9/11 attacks), an overwhelming feeling that we must stand by the oppressed and punish the unjust Jews and their backers."

Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people and prompted the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Despite a massive manhunt and a 25-million-dollar bounty on his head, he has evaded capture and has regularly taunted the United States and its allies through warnings issued via video and audio, mainly on the Internet.