May 18, 2008 / 12:40 PM / 10 years ago

Bin Laden to issue "very strong" message - website

DUBAI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden will issue a “very strong” statement to Muslims across the world soon, an Islamist website said on Sunday.

A video grab from an undated footage from the Internet shows Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden making statements from an unknown location. REUTERS/REUTERS TV

“A very strong statement to the Islamic nation by the lion of Islam sheikh Osama bin Laden,” read a banner posted on the al Qaeda-linked website.

The website said the statement would be issued “soon”, without giving further details. Such messages usually appear within 72 hours.

In his latest message, posted on Friday to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary, bin Laden vowed to continue fighting the Jewish state and its allies in the West.

In a message on March 20, he urged Muslims to maintain the struggle against U.S. forces in Iraq as a path toward “liberating Palestine”.

Al Qaeda has vowed attacks on Jews both inside and outside Israel and regularly expresses support for the Palestinians.

The Saudi-born militant leader was based in Afghanistan until its Taliban rule was overthrown by U.S.-led forces in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Since then, U.S. and Pakistani officials have said they believe he and his top aide Ayman al-Zawahri are hiding somewhere on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Al Qaeda says it seeks to punish Washington and its allies for bias toward Israel at the expense of Muslims’ interests and their “crusades” in Muslim countries -- the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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