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US Experts Believe Latest bin Laden Tape is Probably Authentic - 2003-10-20

U.S. intelligence officials believe an audio tape of a voice claiming to be Osama bin Laden broadcast Saturday by the Al Jazeera television network is probably authentic.

Analysts with the Central Intelligence Agency, who do not want to be identified, have concluded the voice on the latest tape is probably that of Osama bin Laden and that it was likely recorded sometime during the past six months.

The tape was broadcast Saturday by Al-Jazeera and included a reference to the government of former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. He was appointed in April and resigned on September 6.

Intelligence analysts say the tape did not mention the Abbas resignation, indicating it was probably recorded sometime between April and early September. U.S. officials have said they believe Osama bin Laden is still alive and hiding in the rugged mountains along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The latest tape urged Iraqis to wage a holy war against U.S. troops. Release of purported bin Laden tapes has been a concern for U.S. intelligence officials in the past. They fear the tapes could signal an impending attack.

For example, in April a speaker believed to be bin Laden urged Muslims to rise up in Saudi Arabia and launch suicide attacks against U.S. and British interests. A little more than a month later, suicide bombers struck Western housing compounds in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Meanwhile, the U.S. television network NBC says it has obtained video-tape that includes previously unseen footage of Osama bin Laden and threats delivered in English by the terrorists who carried out the May attack in Riyadh.

NBC says it also has obtained an audio-tape of the Riyadh attack. NBC says U.S. intelligence officials are trying to determine whether the new tapes are authentic.