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Bin laden asks US to fund hamas { March 2006 }

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Apr. 23, 2006 15:29 | Updated Apr. 23, 2006 15:32
Bin Laden: Hamas blockade proves West at war with Islam
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
CAIRO, Egypt

Al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden said in an audio tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television Sunday that the Western cut off of funds to the Palestinian Hamas-led government proved the US and Europe were at war with Islam.

He also said the West was supporting he called a "Zionist crusader war against Muslims."

"The blockade which the West is imposing on the government of Hamas proves that there is a Zionist crusader war on Islam," the tape said.

"I say that this war is the joint responsibility of the people and the governments. While the war continues, the people renew their allegiance to their rulers and politicians and continue to send their sons to our countries to fight us," bin Laden said.

Only three weeks ago Damascus-based Hamas head Khaled Mashaal met in Yemen with a representative of bin Laden's organization, who is wanted by the US for his involvement in supporting and funding global terror.

During a visit to Yemen, the local Hamas branch organized a fund-raising event to recruit financial aid for the new Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government. During the event, Mashaal met with Sheikh Abd al-Majid al- Zindani - suspected by the US as being a 'loyalist to Osama bin Laden and supporter of al-Qaida' - who even donated 200,000 Yemenite rials to Hamas, the equivalent of a little over $1,000.

'This meeting reinforces the fact that Hamas and al- Qaida come out of the same ideological well-spring of global jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood,' said former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold, whose Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs carefully followed the meeting and recently published a paper on the Hamas-al-Qaida alliance. 'They still share the same financial infrastructure to this day.'

At the fund-raising event, Zindani praised Hamas suicide bombers and called on his followers to donate money to assist the Palestinian people. 'The Hamas government is the Palestinian people's government today,' he told the crowd of several thousand. 'It is the jihad-fighting, steadfast, resolute government of Palestine.'

In 2004, US authorities designated Zindani as a terror supporter and a spiritual figure for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Zindani, the authorities claimed, played a key role in the 2004 purchasing of weapons on behalf of al- Qaida and other terrorist groups.

'The US has credible evidence that Zindani, a Yemeni national, supports designated terrorists and terrorist organizations,' a statement released by the US Treasury Department said. 'Zindani has a long history of working with bin Laden, notably serving as one of his spiritual leaders. In this leadership capacity, he has been able to influence and support many terrorist causes, including actively recruiting for al-Qaida training camps.'

The tape broadcast Sunday was the first new message from bin Laden since Jan. 19. That tape was posted in full on a Web site a month later and included a vow by the terrorist chieftain never to be captured alive.

"I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don't want to die humiliated or deceived," bin Laden said, in the 11-minute, 26-second tape.

In that message, bin Laden offered the United States a long-term truce but also said his al-Qaida terror network would soon launch a fresh attack on American soil.

with Yaakov Katz



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