Al-Jazeera broadcasts tape by bin Laden

By Yoav Stern

Haaretz

Cheshvan 15, 5765

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden said in a video tape aired late Friday that one of the reasons his organization carried out the September 11 attacks was because of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

He also said that the United States could face renewed attacks because the reasons for mounting the Sept. 11 strikes still existed. The video tape was aired on the Qatari-based Al Jazeera satellite television channel.

In his clearest comments yet taking responsibility for the attacks three years ago, he said just days before President George W. Bush faces re-election: "Despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving you and hiding the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to repeat what happened."

He said he thought of the idea of attacking the U.S. skyscrapers when he saw Israeli aircraft bombing tower blocks in Lebanon in 1982.

"While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women," bin Laden said on tape.

Bush: U.S. not intimidated
President George W. Bush said Friday that "Americans will not be intimidated" by bin Laden as the new videotape of the terrorist leader surfaced four days before the Nov. 2 election.

Democratic challenger John Kerry pledged to "hunt down and destroy" bin Laden. The administration said it believed the tape was authentic and had been made recently.

Bush expressed confidence that the United States would prevail in the war against terrorism.

Official: No change in U.S. alert level
The United States will make no immediate change in its terrorism alert level following the airing of the video tape, a White House official said on Friday.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the tape was believed to be authentic.

"Our intelligence community has said that they believe it is authentic and that it was taped recently. The intelligence community continues to analyze the tape. If there is actionable intelligence, we will act on it," he said.

A U.S. official said the videotape did not appear to contain a specific threat.

Another official said the tape was being taken seriously and law enforcement officials were considering what extra steps they could implement to protect the United States on election day on Tuesday.

"Right now everyone involved in antiterrorism efforts is on higher alert," the official said. "This has now given us new concern for election-day security."

McClellan said there were no immediate plans to elevate the U.S. terrorism alert level in response to the bin Laden tape.

"That is something that we analyze all the time. We are on a heightened state of awareness already. And there is no change in it at this time," he told reporters.

McClellan said Bush was notified late on Friday morning about the tape by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice while he was traveling aboard Air Force One.

He said U.S. authorities "are doing everything we can to disrupt and prevent attacks from happening".

"Our military will remain on the offensive to prevail in the war on terrorism, and that's where our focus is."