Bin Laden vows Jihad in Jerusalem
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Osama bin Laden made an unusually sharp threat of attacks against Israel, vowing to expand al-Qaida's jihad, or holy war, to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine in a new audiotape released yesterday.
Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, reflecting al-Qaida's eagerness to unify insurgents there behind it at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.
Bin Laden promised to widen al-Qaida's fight to include Israel, stepping up al-Qaida's attempts to use the Israeli-Arab conflict to rally supporters.
"I would like to assure our people in Palestine that we will expand our jihad there," Bin Laden said.
"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening blood for blood, destruction for destruction.
Bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders frequently vow to liberate Jerusalem and Palestine in their messages. But the latest comments were a more direct language than Bin Laden usually uses. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory, but the terror network is not believed to have taken a strong direct role there so far.
"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," Bin Laden said.