Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tape Attributed to Bin Laden Criticizes Europe Over Afghanistan

Tape Attributed to Bin Laden Criticizes Europe Over Afghanistan
<!-- IMAGE -->

A recorded message attributed to al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden calls on Europeans to end their alliance with the United States and pull their troops out of Afghanistan.

The audio message, with English and German subtitles, threatens retaliation against Europeans unless they withdraw their troops. It was posted on Internet sites two days before parliamentary elections in Germany.

The purported message from Bin Laden follows the posting of three German recordings by a speaker believed to be Bekkay Harrach, also known as Abu Talha, a German of Moroccan origin. The latest, posted on the Internet Thursday, calls on Muslims in Germany to take part in jihad, or holy war.

A week ago, the German speaker warned that, if voters do not cast ballots to change their government, they will face what he called a "rude awakening." A message last Sunday referred more directly to German troops in Afghanistan.

Police in Stuttgart Thursday arrested a 25-year-old Turkish man suspected of posting one of the videos on the Internet.

The United States issued a travel alert Wednesday saying Americans should exercise caution if they are in Germany over the next few weeks.

The latest pre-election polls indicate a close race but show German Chancellor Angela Merkel will likely be able to form a new coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats after the elections.

Latest polls show Ms. Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats at about 35 percent and the Free Democrats at about 13 percent. But that could be enough under Germany's complex electoral arithmetic to give the two parties a razor-thin majority in parliament.

The polls put the Social Democrats at about 26 percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.