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US:  New Bin Laden Audiotape Appears Authentic - 2004-04-15

U.S. officials say the new audio tape being carried by Arabic TV channels said to be of Osama bin Laden appears to be authentic. They are welcoming the unanimous rejection of the terrorist leader's offer of what is termed a "truce" to countries in Europe that withdraw troops from Muslim countries.

Reaction to the purported bin Laden tape came from Secretary of State Colin Powell, who told reporters he is gratified that U.S. allies have condemned what they are depicting as an effort to split Western resolve in the fight against terrorism.

"I'm pleased that the reaction of the Europeans - that has been a very direct and clear reaction - that says we will not be terrorized by this terrorist," he said. "And I think that the international community realizes that they cannot give in to these kinds of threats, and I hope this will strengthen our determination to deal with terrorism, and especially to do everything we can to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."

U.S. analysts believe the tape was made in recent days, since it refers to Israel's killing in late March in Gaza of Muslim cleric Sheik Ahmed Yassin. The speaker vowed revenge against both Israel and the United States for the death of the cleric, a founder of the radical Palestinian group Hamas.