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Threat from Bin Laden

Last updated: 2008-01-03

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Osama bin Laden has vowed to destroy Israel. The fugitive Al-Qaida leader issued an audio recording in which he came out against Palestinian and other Arab leaders who have recognised the Jewish state.

"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 river to the sea. We will not recognise even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," he said.

Al-Qaida is believed to have set up cells in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but its influence is limited given doctrinal opposition from ruling local groups like Islamist Hamas.

In his message, Bin Laden also mocked Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, over the fact that the U.N. peacekeeper presence has grown in southern Lebanon since last year's war with Israel. The peacekeepers, Bin Laden said, "protect the Jews."

(c) JTA