|With Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff|
|For the story behind the story...|
|Wednesday, Oct. 16,
2002 9:48 a.m. EDT
Al-Qaeda Big Confirms Terror Ties to Iraq
Osama bin Laden's chief deputy sparked al-Qaeda's recent wave of global terror attacks with a recorded message released last week that affirmed the group's support for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the London Telegraph said this week.
The message from Ayman Zawahiri, broadcast by al-Jazeera TV on Oct. 7, echoed earlier concerns about Iraq's fate proclaimed by bin Laden himself in a videotaped message released Oct. 7, 2001 - the same day the U.S. began its air war in Afghanistan.
In the more recent message, Zawahiri sought to inspire Islamic extremists by citing the American campaign to remove Saddam Hussein, the British paper said.
"The campaign against Iraq has an objective that is far beyond Iraq to reach the Arab and Islamic world," the bin Laden deputy proclaimed.
Within 24 hours of the Zawahiri broadcast, two al-Qaeda gunmen launched a shooting attack against U.S. Marines in Kuwait, where they were massing in preparation for a possible invasion of Baghdad. One GI was killed, another wounded.
Saturday's bombing attack in Bali, Indonesia, is also believed to have been launched in response to Zawahiri's call to arms on behalf of Iraq.
In his October 2001 message, bin Laden complained about the deadly effect U.S. sanctions were having on Iraq.
"Millions of innocent children are being killed as I speak," the al-Qaeda terror chief said. "They are being killed in Iraq without committing any sins, and we don't hear condemnation or a fatwa [religious decree] from the rulers."
"May God show them His wrath and give them what they deserve," bin Laden added.
Terrorism experts say that last week's Zawahiri recording indicated a broad approval for attacks, but left the timing and method up to decentralized al-Qaeda terror cells in the field.
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