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Saturday, December 26, 1998 Published at 00:19 GMT

World: Middle East

Bin Laden urges revenge

Osama bin Laden has called for revenge for the attacks on Iraq

The man suspected of masterminding the bombings of two US embassies in Africa earlier this year has renewed his call for attacks on the United States and Israel.

He said any such attack would be appropriate to avenge recent military strikes on Arab countries.

He made his comments in interviews with the BBC, and in the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

"The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders' decision to attack Iraq," he said.

Helen Sawyer reports in Mr bin Laden's exclusive interview with the BBC
This made it the duty of Muslims to "get rid of all the Americans and all of the Jews out of the land of Islam".

''Anything that can be taken from them by force is the rightful prize of Muslims," added the exiled Saudi billionaire.

The US and Britain carried out four days of strikes on Iraqi after Baghdad allegedly obstructed the work of UN weapons inspectors.

Indicted in his absence

Washington accuses Mr bin Laden of masterminding the twin bombing of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in August. A court in America has indicted him in his absence in connection with the attacks, which killed 224 people.

The US then launched cruise missiles on sites that Washington said were Mr bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan.

During the BBC interview Mr bin Laden denied any involvement but expressed his "admiration and support" for the bombers.

Mr bin Laden said that the Taleban, which controls 90% of Afghanistan, had prohibited him from carrying out attacks on foreign countries following the US strikes on Iraq.

But he said he continued to "guide [Muslims] toward holy war against Jews and Christians'', which was a duty.

The US has offered a record $5m reward for information leading to Mr bin Laden's arrest and conviction.

Tthe interviews with Mr bin Laden were conducted in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, near Kandahar.

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