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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 07:02 GMT 08:02 UK
Al-Qaeda threatens fresh terror attacks
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, speaking on al-Jazeera TV
Abu Ghaith: US terror attacks "a good deed"
A spokesman for Osama Bin Laden's militant group, al-Qaeda, has delivered a defiant statement urging all Muslims to join in a holy war against the United States and to attack American interests around the world.

The spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, was speaking in a message recorded after the start of the US-led bombing campaign. It was broadcast by the Qatar-based television station al-Jazeera.

There are thousands of the Islamic nation's youths who are eager to die just as the Americans are eager to live

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith
Abu Gaith praised the suicide attacks against America on 11 September and said there would be more of them.

Meanwhile the United States has carried out more daylight air raids on Afghanistan - the country's air defences have been repeatedly targeted and the US now says it has taken control of the skies.

The ruling Taleban regime in Afghanistan has said it will free up Bin Laden, whom it is sheltering, to wage a jihad. He had previously been barred by the regime from using telephones, fax machines and the internet.

Taleban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen told the BBC's Pashto service that all previous restrictions on the Saudi-born dissident would be lifted following the US-led air raids.

Osama Bin Laden
The rhetoric echoed Bin Laden's broadcast

Abu Ghaith said in his statement: "The Americans should know that the storm of plane attacks will not abate. There are thousands of the Islamic nation's youths who are eager to die just as the Americans are eager to live."

He said the US and Britain, by attacking Afghanistan, had opened a door that would never be closed.

Several times, he used the word "crusade" as a derogatory term to describe the actions of the US and its Western allies.

In other developments:

  • The US carries out more daylight raids on Afghanistan, repeatedly targeting air defences and airports, especially in the southern Taleban stronghold of Kandahar
  • The Taleban release a statement saying that its supreme leader Mullah Omar survived the latest round of attacks unscathed
  • Japan's parliament is deliberating a bill that gives wide-ranging powers to its armed forces
  • UK Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives in the Middle East on another diplomatic mission to shore up the anti-terrorism coalition in the wake of the US-led attacks
  • Arab leaders warn the US-led alliance not to extend its attacks to other Muslim or Arab countries
  • French journalist Michel Peyrard and his two Pakistani guides are arrested by the Taleban near Jalalabad and accused of spying

'Good deed'

The message from Abu Ghaith was the second statement by al-Qaeda since the launch of US-led air strikes against Afghanistan on Sunday.

A S-3B Viking takes-off from the flight deck of the USS Enterprise
The US claims to have gained control of the skies

Bin Laden issued a videotaped message the same day, though it appeared to have been recorded before the attacks began.

Abu Ghaith said: "US interests are spread throughout the world. So, every Muslim should carry out his real role to champion his Islamic nation and religion.

"Carrying out terrorism against the oppressors is one of the tenets of our religion."

He said those who carried out devastating attacks on New York and Washington with hijacked aircraft had "done a good deed" and taken the battle to the heart of America.

"Let the United States know that the battle will continue to be waged on its territory until it leaves our land, stops its support for the Jews, and lifts the unjust embargo on the Iraqi people."

State Department criticism

The message was similar to Bin Laden's earlier statement, which interpreted the battle between the US and al-Qaeda as one between the West and Israel against the interests of Muslims.

An official from the al-Jazeera station told the Reuters news agency it had received the video recorded statement in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday.

It was not clear why Abu Ghaith rather than Bin Laden made the recording.

The American State Department has complained to the Emir of Qatar about al-Jazeera, accusing it of carrying inflammatory rhetoric and untrue stories.

The BBC's Nick Bryant
"Operation Enduring Freedom is about to enter a new phase"
See also:

10 Oct 01 | Middle East
In full: Al-Qaeda statement
09 Oct 01 | Americas
America on high alert
10 Oct 01 | South Asia
US claims air supremacy
07 Oct 01 | South Asia
Bin Laden defiant
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
08 Oct 01 | Media reports
Al-Jazeera goes it alone
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