Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

'Osama Bin Laden threatens retaliation over 9/11 trial'

Osama Bin Laden, file pic
The al-Qaeda leader issued two recordings in January

A message said to be from Osama Bin Laden threatens to kill Americans if the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is executed by the US.

Al-Jazeera news channel broadcast an audiotape reportedly from the al-Qaeda leader talking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects.

The tape said that if the US made the decision to execute, al-Qaeda would also "execute" anyone it captured.

The five suspects are due to be tried in New York for the 2001 attacks.

Trial criticism

The taped message said: "The White House has declared its wish to execute (Mr Mohammed and the other suspects). The day the United States takes such a decision, it would be also taking the decision that any of you falling into our hands will be executed."

The White House has been criticised for planning to put the five suspects on trial in New York. Critics say the trial near the Ground Zero will be expensive and disruptive.

White House officials have yet to decide if the trial will take place in a federal courtroom, or in a military commission.

Prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty, while White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in January that Mr Mohammed was going to "meet his maker" if found guilty.

The Pentagon says Mr Mohammed has admitted to being responsible "from A to Z" for the attacks in New York and Washington.

Following his capture in Pakistan in 2003, Mr Mohammed was held at a CIA secret prison, where he was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and a practice known as "waterboarding", which simulates drowning, until he was moved to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

'Rage of the oppressed'

In the tape broadcast on Thursday, the speaker said to be Bin Laden also accused US President Barack Obama of "following the footsteps of his predecessor".

"The politicians in the White House were practising injustice against us and still they are - especially by supporting Israel in its continuous occupation of Palestine," he said.

"They used to think that America across the oceans is protected from the rage of the oppressed until our reaction was loudly heard at your home on the 9/11 with God's help."

In a previous recording said to be of Bin Laden, broadcast by al-Jazeera in late January, he blamed the US for global warming.

A day earlier he praised the attempted bombing of a US airliner on 25 December.

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