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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 19:23 GMT
'Bin Laden tape to show Iraq link'
Al-Jazeera broadcast of Osama Bin Laden audio statement
Al-Jazeera has aired previous al-Qaeda statements
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said a new tape attributed to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will show links between the militant group and Iraq.

Once again [Bin Laden] speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq

Colin Powell

Arab TV station al-Jazeera has confirmed it has an audio tape which it is examining, despite earlier denying any knowledge of it.

Several other statements allegedly made by al-Qaeda members, including Bin Laden, have been broadcast by the station.

Mr Powell sought to make a connection between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda during a presentation to the United Nations Security Council last week.

Jordanian's role

Mr Powell told the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday that he had read a transcript "of what Bin Laden, or who we believe to be Bin Laden, will be saying on al-Jazeera during the course of the day".

"Once again he speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq," Mr Powell said.

At the Security Council, Mr Powell laid out what he said was proof that Baghdad was linked to al-Qaeda, whom the US blames for the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

His evidence focused on the role of a Jordanian al-Qaeda associate, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whom he said was operating in northern Iraq.

The testimony was greeted with a significant level of scepticism on both sides of the Atlantic.

On Tuesday, the head of the CIA, George Tenet, warned of an increased risk of al-Qaeda attacks in the US and on the Arabian peninsula.


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See also:

07 Feb 03 | Politics
05 Feb 03 | Middle East
14 Nov 02 | Middle East
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