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Arab Television Station Airs bin Laden Audiotape - 2004-01-05

An audiotape purportedly made by Osama bin Laden was broadcast late Sunday by an Arab television station. The voice on the audiotape calls for Muslims to wage holy war against the United States and its allies.

The Arab-language television network al-Jazeera broadcast the tape late Sunday and identified the speaker as al-Qaida terror network leader Osama bin Laden.

The speaker on the tape said the occupation of Iraq is a step towards the occupation of the rest of the Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia.

The speaker said the fight is "us against them", good versus evil and will last until the end of time. He said if Muslims do not defend Iraq today, then tomorrow Saudi Arabia will be occupied.

U.S. forces withdrew from Saudi Arabia following the conclusion of the war in Iraq. The United States has said it intends to stay in Iraq only as long as is necessary to establish a stable government. The Bush administration also said it has no intention of occupying the rest of the region.

The recording is the first attributed to Osama bin Laden in several months. Such recordings have concerned U.S. officials, who fear the tapes could either prompt or be a signal for future terrorist attacks.