Four days before the U.S. presidential election al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has threatened new attacks on the United States. He appeared in a video broadcast on the Arab TV network Al Jazeera claiming responsibility for the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.
A gaunt-looking Osama bin Laden appears in the video, standing at a podium and dressed in a small white turban and traditional white robe and beige cloak.
In what he calls a message to the American people, he threatens new attacks on the United States unless its policies change.
At a campaign stop in Ohio, President Bush says the United States will not be intimidated. "I also want to say to the American people we're at war with these terrorists, and I am confident we will prevail," he said.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan says U.S. officials believe the tape is authentic and was made recently. Analysts are checking it for information that could warrant action. For now, Mr. McClellan says there is no plan to raise the national security threat level.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told a TV station in Florida that Americans are united against terrorism. "My reaction is that all of us in this country are completely united. Democrat, Republican, there is no such thing. There's just Americans and we are all united in hunting down and capturing or killing those who conducted that raid. We always knew it was Osama bin Laden," he said.
Speaking in a calm but strong voice, the terrorist leader referred to next week's U.S. election, telling Americans their security does not depend on President Bush or Democratic candidate John Kerry or al-Qaida, but will depend on government policies.
Bin Laden says al-Qaida decided, in his words, to destroy New Yorks' World Trade towers in 2001 and listed several factors that motivated the attack, including frustration over what he called America's pro-Israeli Middle East policies. He says Israel's bombing attacks on Beirut in 1982 gave him the idea of targeting New York's skyscrapers.
Still, the al-Qaida chief ends the speech saying "if a nation does not attack us, we will not attack them."
The Arab TV network Al Jazeera, which broadcast the video, does not say how it obtained the 18-minute tape. Al Jazeera has broadcast other video and audio messages from al-Qaida in the past.
This is the first video of Osama bin Laden in more than a year.