Last Updated: Friday, May 16, 2008 | 7:21 AM
Osama bin Laden has vowed that al-Qaeda will continue its campaign against Israel and its Western allies until Palestinians are freed from their “occupiers,” according to reports.
Bin Laden made the remarks in a tape released Friday, as Israel continued its 60th anniversary celebrations. The authenticity of the nearly 10-minute message could not immediately be verified, but it was posted on a website commonly used by al-Qaeda.
The militant leader, who has previously threatened to extend al-Qaeda’s network to Israel, said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important elements in its battle against the West and that it motivated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
“We will continue, God permitting, the fight against the Israelis and their allies … and will not give up a single inch of Palestine as long as there is one true Muslim on Earth,” the Saudi-born militant said, according to Reuters.
The message, which is bin Laden’s second this year and seventh since 2007, said anniversary celebrations in Israel were a clear indication that the world’s only Jewish state was built on land taken 60 years ago from Palestinians who were already living there.
“This is evidence that Palestine is our land, and the Israelis are invaders and occupiers who should be fought,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
Friday’s message came a day after U.S. President George W. Bush delivered a speech to the Israeli parliament condemning bin Laden and other “terrorists and radicals,” including members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Hezbollah and the president of Iran.
The militant leader made another direct reference to Israel in a tape released on the web in December 2007, saying al-Qaeda intends to “liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the sea.
“We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have,” he said.