DUBAI - AL-QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the botched Christmas Day bombing of a US airliner and vowed further strikes on American targets, in an audio message broadcast on Sunday.
The message aired by Al-Jazeera television warned US President Barack Obama the attack was meant as a similar message to Sept 11, 2001 when Al-Qaeda militants hijacked and crashed passenger jets into iconic American buildings.
The recording said it was a message from 'Osama to Obama', and IntelCentre, a US group that monitors Islamist websites, said it contained 'language used by bin Laden... in advance of attacks'. In the message, bin Laden praised as a 'hero' Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who allegedly tried to detonate explosives on a Northwest Airlines plane approaching Detroit on Dec 25 but was foiled by passengers.
'The message that was conveyed through the (attacked) plane of the hero Umar Farouk is to stress earlier messages delivered to you by the heroes of the 11' Sept attack, he said.
'That (message) is, that America should not dream of security until we enjoy it as a reality in Palestine.' The authenticity of the recording could not immediately be verified, but Al-Jazeera said the voice was bin Laden's and IntelCentre said it appeared to be genuine.
'From Osama to Obama: Had we been able to deliver our messages to you in words, we would not have sent them by planes,' the statement said. 'It is not fair that you (America) enjoy a good life while our brothers in Gaza endure the worst standard of living. Therefore, God willing, our attacks against you will continue as long as you maintain your support to Israel.' IntelCentre said it considered bin Laden's choice of the phrase 'Peace be upon those who follow guidance' as 'a possible indicator of an upcoming attack' in the next 12 months. -- AFP