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Bin Laden Praises Middle East Uprisings in Posthumous Message

This image from video provided by the SITE Intelligence Group shows the image displayed during a posthumous audio message from slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden released by the terrorist group's media arm, as-Sahab, May 18, 2011

Al-Qaida has released an audio recording in which its slain leader, Osama bin Laden, praises the protest movements that have swept across the Middle East.

In the 12-minute message posted on Islamist websites, bin Laden purportedly singles out the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, predicting the "winds of change" will spread across the entire Muslim world.

He makes no specific reference to Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, where pro-democracy supporters have had less success in toppling the government.

In the audio recording Wednesday, bin Laden urges protesters to seize the opportunity to bring down "tyrants." He accuses Arab rulers of making themselves into idols and using the media to maintain power.

The al-Qaida offers advice in spreading the revolutions, urging Muslim youth to consult the more experienced to achieve their goal.

Bin Laden was killed May 2 in a U.S. military raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Earlier this week, media reports quoted an analyst and former associate of bin Laden as saying that al-Qaida has chosen an Egyptian special forces officer, Saif al-Adel, as its interim leader.

But a senior U.S. intelligence official, who did not want to be named, dismissed the reports in an interview Thursday with VOA. The official said there is no information indicating that a successor to bin Laden has been named.

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