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Bin laden says US plans crusade in somalia

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Bin Laden says US plans crusade in Somalia
Sat Jul 1, 2006 5:55 PM ET

By Inal Ersan

DUBAI (Reuters) - A purported audio recording by Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said a U.S.-backed bid for the deployment of international forces in Somalia was part of a crusade to crush budding Islamic rule.

"Any military forces' deployment in Somalia from any country, even if it was an alleged Islamic country, can only mean a continuation of the crusade against the Islamic world," said the speaker in an audio statement posted on the Internet.

"The claim that this would help Somalia's people and spread security there was a lie," said the speaker.

"The true reason is that the sharia movement (Islamic Courts Union) has taken over the capital and spread their influence on most of the important parts and they seek to create an Islamic state."

He also warned the United States and other countries against dispatching troops to the African nation where the militia of the Islamic Courts Union gained control over the capital Mogadishu in June.

"We warn all of the countries in the world not to respond to America by sending international troops to Somalia. We will fight (foreign) soldiers on the land of Somalia ... and we reserve the right to punish them on their land and anywhere possible."

A U.S. intelligence official, declining to be named, said in Washington there was no reason to doubt it was bin Laden on the tape, which was posted on an Internet site used by Islamists.

Bin Laden urged Somalis to back the newly powerful Islamists and to fight Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and his allies, warning that offering any support to Yusuf or international forces would turn Muslims into "infidels".


The government's call for international peacekeepers has infuriated the Islamists. The interim government, formed in neighboring Kenya in 2004, has little power and is based in the southern provincial town of Baidoa.

Somalia's parliament approved deployment of foreign peacekeepers earlier this month. Troops from Uganda and Sudan would come first, followed by bordering states, including Somalia's traditional rival Ethiopia.

Islamic Courts Union Chairman Sheikh Sharif Ahmed said in late June that fellow African nations should block any deployment of foreign forces in his country.

Bin Laden warned the leaders of the Islamic movement about the "traps of the infidels", including a call by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh for talks between the government and the Islamic Courts Union.

On June 16, a Yemeni state Web site said leaders of the Islamic Courts Union have agreed to hold talks with Yusuf in Yemen.

The Islamists, whose militia drove warlords out of the capital and has since advanced into the hinterland, and the government agreed last week at talks in Sudan to recognize each other and meet again this month.

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