Al Qaeda Says It's Behind Synagogue Attack, Vows More
Sun Jun 23, 1:20 PM ET
By Ghaida Ghantous
DUBAI (Reuters) - A known al Qaeda spokesman said in a voice recording broadcast
Sunday that the militant group was behind a deadly suicide attack at a Tunisian
synagogue and warned of fresh attacks against the United States in "months."
The spokesman, in a tape aired on the Qatar-based al-Jazeera channel, also
said Osama bin Laden ( news - web sites), Washington's main suspect in the
September 11 attacks, was alive and "in good health."
It was the first direct claim of al Qaeda involvement in the blast near El
Ghriba synagogue on the resort island of Djerba in April which killed 21
people, including 14 Germans. German government ministers had earlier said
there was evidence linking the blast to the militant network.
"This operation was carried out by al Qaeda network. A youth could not see
his brothers in Palestine butchered and murdered...(while) he saw Jews cavorting
in Djerba," Sulaiman bu Ghaith said in the undated recording broadcast by
"So this spirit of jihad surged and he (the al Qaeda member) carried out
this successful operation, may God accept it," said bu Ghaith, who emerged
as an al Qaeda spokesman after the September 11 attacks.
Jazeera said it received the tape Saturday, but it was not clear when it
was recorded or from where bu Ghaith was speaking. He has previously spoken
about al Qaeda on Web sites and Middle Eastern news channels, warning that
al Qaeda attacks against the United States were not over.
BIN LADEN ALIVE, QAEDA STRONG
Bu Ghaith said the United States had not defeated al Qaeda during its military
campaign on Afghanistan ( news - web sites) and warned the United States
to get ready for another attack.
"As long as America insists on its unjust and biased policy toward Muslims
in favor of Jews and Christians around the world, then God willing we will
continue to hit it anywhere in the world," said bu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti-born
"America knows the truth of what we say. We have the ability to carry out
our threats and in the coming days and months we will prove to world the
truth of what we say," he said.
Bu Ghaith said 98 percent of al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden and his
deputy Ayman Zawahri, had survived the Afghanistan campaign and were "going
about their work."
"I want to reassure Muslims that Sheikh Osama bin Laden is in good health,
thank God, and that all that is rumored about Sheikh Osama bin Laden being
injured or sick in Tora Bora is not true," he said. "The whole world...will
discover that in an interview with Osama bin Laden soon, God willing, which
will appear on television screens."
Bin Laden's fate remains unclear since the U.S. strikes on his Afghan strongholds.
He has appeared in undated video footage in April and May, warning the United
States would not feel safe until Palestinians enjoyed peace and extolling
"BEGINNING OF WAR"
Bin Laden, who has never clearly claimed responsibility for the attacks on
New York and Washington, regards the United States as the enemy of Muslims
for what he calls bias toward Israel and for having a military presence in
Muslim countries, mainly Saudi Arabia.
Bu Ghaith praised the attacks and other previous ones against U.S. interests
as a "victory," but it was not clear if he was referring to al Qaeda or Muslims
"God gave us a historic and great victory that broke the backs of Americans
and broke the back of the greatest power in the world," he said and also
praised the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam
and the bombing of the USS Cole ( news - web sites) in Yemen.
"We believe we are still at the beginning of the war and it is only a stage
and we are still at the beginning of the road," bu Ghaith, who has been stripped
of his Kuwaiti citizenship, said in the recording aired in separate short
Jazeera, which has in the past shown footage of bin Laden and his followers,
said bu Ghaith's recording was taped recently because he referred to the
controversy in the United States about whether U.S. authorities might have
had information to prevent the devastating attacks on U.S. cities.
Jazeera gained fame for its coverage of U.S. military strikes on Afghanistan and earlier interviews with bin Laden.