The tape was broadcast in Arabic Tuesday afternoon on the Al-Jazeera Arab satellite channel. According to network, the statement “urged Muslims to show solidarity and defend the Iraqi people,” Reuters reported.
On the tape, the speaker said that he has been “following with great concern the preparations of the crusaders to launch war on the former capital of Muslims and to install a puppet government.”
The tape added suicide attacks would serve to deter such alleged aggression from the U.S. and its allies, including Israel.
“We stress the importance of martyrdom operations against the enemy, these attacks that have scared Americans and Israelis like never before,” the speaker said, according to the Associated Press.
The man, who some American officials did sound like the Saudi exile, also warned Arab governments that they should not assist the U.S. and its allies.
“Anyone who helps America, from the Iraqi hypocrites [opposition] or Arab rulers … whoever fights with them or offers them bases or administrative assistance, or any kind of support or help, even if only with words, to kill Muslims in Iraq, should know that he is an apostate,” the speaker said.
“Fight these despots,” the statement continued. “I remind you that victory comes only from God.”
Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the Senate Budget Committee that he had read a transcript of the statement “of what bin Laden, or who we believe to be bin Laden will be saying in Al-Jazeera during the course of the day.”
Powell said the bin Laden statement “speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq. This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored.”
The secretary of state has accused Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of maintaining ties to al-Qaida during a speech he made to the United Nations last week to garner support for a U.S.-led military action against Iraq.
The alleged bin Laden statement also comes as the nation’s top intelligence officials warned that al-Qaida remains a “resourceful, merciless” threat to the U.S.
CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee that some of the most specific information the U.S. intelligence community has ever receives points to a potential terrorist strike as early as next week. Tenet said the strike could occur within the U.S. or on the Arabian peninsula.
Tenet and FBI Director Robert Mueller said their agencies were continuing efforts to prevent such attacks and to neutralize al-Qaida cells plotting against the U.S. and its interests.