New 'bin Laden tape' appears on the Internet
An audio tape purportedly by Osama bin Laden praises gunmen who attacked a US consulate in Saudi Arabia on December 6th and warns Saudi rulers they could be toppled like the Shah of Iran.
In the recording posted on the Internet today, the speaker blessed the Saudi al-Qaeda militants who stormed the US consulate in Jeddah, killing five non-American staff in the first attack on a Western mission in Saudi Arabia.
Four militants were killed and a fifth was arrested in the Jeddah attack, the biggest in the country in six months by militants bent on overthrowing the pro-US monarchy and driving Westerners out of the birthplace of Islam.
The speaker lambasted the rulers of the world's largest oil exporter as "corrupt, oppressive" US agents and warned them they would be toppled in a popular uprising if they did not allow their people to choose a true Muslim leadership.
The tape was not dated and its authenticity could not be verified. A White House spokesman said the tape was being analysed to determine its authenticity.
In October, Al Jazeera television aired the first videotape from bin Laden in over a year in which he derided US President George W. Bush and warned of possible new September 11th-style attacks. The full text was posted on the Internet in November.