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CAIRO (AP) – Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt in Detroit, in a audio message released Sunday, and vowed further attacks on the U.S.
The message suggests that bin Laden wants to show he remains in direct command of al-Qaida’s many branches around the world.
In the short recording carried by the Al-Jazeera Arabic news channel, bin Laden addressed President Barack Obama saying the attack was a message similar to that of Sept. 11 and more attacks against the U.S. would be forthcoming.
“The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a confirmation of the previous messages sent by the heroes of the Sept. 11,” he said.
“America will never dream of security unless we will have it in reality in Palestine,” he added. “God willing, our raids on you will continue as long as your support for the Israelis continues.”
On Christmas Day, Nigerian national Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up the Northwest Airlines flight he was sitting on as it approached Detroit Metro Airport. But the bomb he was hiding in his underwear failed to explode.
He told federal agents shortly afterward that he had been trained and instructed in the plot by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula originally took credit for the attack, but by issuing this message, bin Laden seems to be indicating that he himself is ordering attacks, rather than just putting his seal of approval on events afterward.
Analysts had previously suggested that al-Qaida’s offshoots in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere were operated independently from bin Laden, who is believed to be somewhere in Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
There was no way to confirm the voice was actually that of Bin Laden, but it resembled previous recordings attributed to him.
In the past year, bin Laden’s messages have concentrated heavily on the plight of the Palestinians in attempt to rally support across the region.
Many analysts believe that bin Laden is worried about Obama’s popularity across the Middle East with his promises to withdraw from Iraq and personal background, so the al-Qaida leader is focusing on the close U.S.-Israeli relationship.
The suffering of the Palestinians, especially in the blockaded Gaza Strip where 1,400 died during an Israeli offensive there last year, angered many in the Arab world.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andy David, dismissed the latest al-Qaida message and its attempt to link Israel with attacks on the U.S.
“This is nothing new, he has said this before. Terrorists always look for absurd excuses for their despicable deeds,” he said.
The last public message from bin Laden appears to have been on Sept. 26, when he demanded that European countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan. The order came in an audiotape that also warned of “retaliation” against nations that are allied with the United States in fighting the war.
Associated Press Writers Paul Schemm in Cairo and Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.