The U.S.-led military mission was again justified following
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden threatened to wage more attacks on
Iraq and Israel, the White House said Saturday.
"This is a reminder that the aim of Al-Qaeda in Iraq is to block
democracy and freedom for all Iraqis," White House spokesman Tony
"It also reminds us that the mission to defeat Al-Qaida in Iraq
is critically important and must succeed."
In the 56-minute audiotape released on the Internet earlier
Saturday, the voice that claimed to be bin Laden issued a warning
against Sunni Arabs who are fighting al-Qaeda, and vowed to expand
the war against Israel.
"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from
the (Jordan) river to the sea" with "blood for blood, destruction
for destruction," the voice threatened.
It also said that Sunni Arabs who have joined the U.S.-led
troops fighting al-Qaeda in the western Anbar province "have
betrayed the nation and brought disgrace and shame to their
The tape, whose authenticity is still under verification, was
the fifth of its kind released this year.
"The Iraqi people -- every day and in increasing numbers -- are
choosing freedom and standing against the murderous and hateful
ideology of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and we stand with them," Fratto said
in the response.
However, recent surveys have showed that most Americans are in
favor of ending U.S. military presence in Iraq, but opposition
Democrats dominating the Congress have failed in imposing a
timetable for withdrawal.
(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2007)