London, May 16 : In an audio message released today, deliberately timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Israel's foundation, Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has reportedly vowed to reclaim "every inch of Palestine".
Though the tape has not been authenticated yet, the voice appears to be of Laden and the words used are consistent with bin Laden's earlier messages, reported The Telegraph.
"We will continue, God permitting, the fight against the Israelis and their allies. We will not give up a single inch of Palestine as long as there is one true Muslim on earth," said the paper quoted the message contained in the audio tape as saying.
Entitled "The Causes of Conflict on the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israeli Occupation", this was Laden's fourth message this year, and 18th after 9/11 attacks, which was addressed to "Western peoples".
According to the paper, the significance of the tape lies not in its message "but the proof offered that bin Laden is alive and at liberty". His ability to release regular missives to his global circle of followers shows that bin Laden has a sophisticated network around him, it added.
"To Western nations: this speech is to understand the core reason of the war between our civilization and your civilians. I mean the Palestinian cause. The Palestinian cause is the major issue for my [Islamic] nation. It was an important element in fueling me from the beginning and the 19 others with a great motive to fight for those subjected to injustice and the oppressed," Laden said in the message.
Bin Laden further said that Western leaders were insincere in their expressed desire for Israeli-Palestinian peace and failed to criticise Israel for its attacks against the Palestinian people. "Peace talks that started 60 years ago are just meant to deceive the idiots. After all the destruction and the killings ... your leaders talk about principles. This is unbearable. You describe Palestinian organizations as terrorists and you boycott them and punish them while Israelis are killing civilians, women and children," he added.
Reacting to the Laden's latest missive, a spokesman for the Israeli government said: "We do not relate or pay attention to the words of this terrorist lunatic. The time has come for him to be apprehended and pay for his crimes."
The general assumption is that bin Laden has found refuge in the Tribal Areas lining Pakistan's north-west frontier with Afghanistan. Out of Laden's 18 messages released since 9/11, six have been videos and 12 audio tapes. The last video message appeared in September 2007 - and that contained only a single still image of bin Laden.