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Taped message threatens more attacks by al Qaeda
( 2003-09-08 14:34) (Agencies)

An audiotape purportedly issued by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network and broadcast today vowed devastating attacks on Americans everywhere.

"We announce there will be new attacks inside and outside, which would make America forget the attacks of September 11," a person claiming to be a spokesman for al Qaeda said on the tape, which was broadcast by the Arabic television channel al-Arabiya.

The speaker identified himself as Abu Abdel-Rahman Najdi. The network broadcast a still photograph of a bearded man wearing a headdress as it played the tape. There was no immediate independent verification of the identity of the speaker.

"We assure the Muslims that al Qaeda ranks have doubled. . . . Our coming martyrdom operations will prove to you what we are saying," the speaker said.

The tape, dated Wednesday, came eight days before the second anniversary of the attacks in New York and on the Pentagon, which have been blamed on al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda has issued five other audiotapes this year threatening action against the United States. Bin Laden and his deputies purportedly also made several video appearances in 2001.

The speaker denied any links to a car bombing in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf last month. The attack killed Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim, a prominent Shiite cleric, and scores of other people. Some U.S. and Iraqi reports have suggested that al Qaeda was behind the attack.

"We strongly deny that al Qaeda had any hand in this bombing that killed Mohammed Bakir Hakim, violated the sanctity of one of God's houses and killed innocent people," the tape said.

The speaker accused the United States and Israel of orchestrating the killing because, he said, they feared the cleric's links to Iran would boost its influence in the region.

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