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New Bin Laden Message Hails Zarqawi


A new videotape purportedly from al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden has praised the slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a joint U.S. - Iraqi military operation June 7.

The authenticity of the tape posted on the Internet this Friday morning could not be immediately verified.

On the tape, a voice resembling that of bin Laden hailed Zarqawi as the "lion of jihad" and called him a martyr.

The speaker called on President Bush to return Zarqawi's body to his family, and warned that the fight against the United States and its allies will continue.

He also said Zarqawi had clear instructions to fight the occupying forces in Iraq, particularly Americans, and others who help them.

The video showed a still photo of bin Laden in a split screen along with pictures of Zarqawi from previous videotapes.

The latest tape was the fourth message put out this year by the al-Qaida chief. All featured his voice in audio tapes.

In a separate video posted on the Internet last week, bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, praised Zarqawi and called on al-Qaida members to avenge his death.