Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tape Makes US 'Almost certain'Bin Laden Is Alive

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tape Makes US 'Almost certain'Bin Laden Is Alive

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES LANGTON

PENTAGON experts are today more convinced than ever that Osama bin Laden is alive and still in control of his al Qaeda terror network.

Analysts studying a new fourminute cassette tape are now "almost certain" that the voice threatening fresh terrorist attacks on Britain and American and their allies is Bin Laden's. The tape is being regarded as nearproof that Bin Laden escaped the US-lead assault on Afghanistan.

During the recording, which appears to have been made in the last two weeks, the Saudi-born terrorist leader praises the Bali bombers and promises the Western allies: "We will kill you''.

If the analysts announce they are convinced it is genuine, the recording will be a damaging blow to President Bush who hoped al Qaeda had been deprived of its leader. One US source said today: "We've now reached the point where we're almost certain about its authenticity."

And John Miller, an American TV reporter who has interviewed the terrorist leader, said : "It certainly sounds like bin Laden, not a crudely edited tape.'' The voice threatens new attacks on America and its allies - Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, Australia and Israel.

"It is time we get even. You will be killed just as you kill, and will be bombed just as you bomb. And expect more that will further distress you. If you were distressed by the deaths of your men... remember our children who are killed in Palestine and Iraq everyday."

Broadcast on the Arab TV news network Al-Jazeera, which also displayed a huge picture of Bin Laden, the tape refers both to the bombings in Bali and the attack by Chechen Islamic rebels on the Moscow theatre last month.

The attacks, it says, were committed by "the zealous sons of Islam in defence of their religion" and were a response "to how the Muslims have been treated".

The speaker also seems to refer to the killing of a US diplomat in Jordan, on 28 October, the most recent event noted on the tape.

He singles out Australia, saying it had been "warned not to participate in Afghanistan". He adds: "They ignored our warning, and they woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali. …

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