Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, is reported to have issued a video recording calling on Muslims to wage jihad against Israel over its offensive in Gaza.

The audio message was posted on a radical Islamist Web site which has posted other statements from bin Laden in the past.

It is the first time bin Laden has been heard from in seven months and puts to rest speculation he is dead. The al Qaeda leader's last audio message was posted on May 18, 2008.

Now America is begging the world for money and the United States will not be as powerful as it used to be, the voice on the tape, purported to be that of bin Laden, said.

The question is, can America continue its war with us for several more decades to come? Reports and evidence would suggest otherwise.

Bin Laden also threatened that his terror organization would attack the United States and its allies throughout the world.

We are on the way to opening new fronts, he said.

Gordon Johndroe, a US White House spokesman, said: It appears this tape demonstrates his isolation and looks to be an effort to raise money as part of [al-Qaeda's] ongoing propaganda campaign.

The authenticity of the recording could not be verified immediately, but it appeared to be a typically provocative message from the al-Qaeda leader, taunting the United States as it prepares to hand the presidential baton from George W Bush to Barack Obama.

Bin Laden has been the world's most wanted terrorist since the 9/11 attacks of September 2001 and has a $25 million bounty on his head.