DUBAI – Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden warned the American people over their government's close ties with Israel in an apparently new audio tape posted on an Islamist website on Monday.
The time has come for you to liberate yourselves from fear and the ideological terrorism of neo-conservatives and the Israeli lobby, Bin Laden's latest tape said.
The reason for our dispute with you is your support for your ally Israel, occupying our land in Palestine.
The message, entitled A statement to the American people, was around 11 minutes long and was posted a few days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify its authenticity but the website often is used by supporters of al Qaeda.
In the tape, the al Qaeda leader said there had been no real change in American policy because U.S. President Barack Obama had retained people like U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates from the administration of former President George W. Bush.
If you think about your situation well, you will know that the White House is occupied by pressure groups, Bin Laden said.
Rather than fighting to liberate Iraq -- as Bush claimed -- it (the White House) should have been liberated.
The website had said earlier this month it would soon carry a present to Muslims from bin Laden on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.
The leader of the group that mounted the September 11 attacks in the United States is thought to be in hiding in the mountainous terrain along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
The attacks carried out by al Qaeda operatives in 2001 killed nearly 3,000 people.
The tape made reference to Obama's speech in Cairo in June, suggesting the message was recorded afterwards. The speaker also appeared to refer to criticisms former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made in June of Israel's Gaza invasion earlier this year.
Bin Laden's last apparent message was issued just before Obama's speech, where the president talked of a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim world.
In the new message, bin Laden also referred to U.S. military actions in Afghanistan to support the Afghan government against the Taliban, allies of al Qaeda, and support for Pakistan, which faces militant violence.
If you stop the war, then fine. Otherwise we will have no choice but to continue our war of attrition on every front... If you choose safety and stopping wars, as opinion polls show you do, then we are ready to respond to this.
You have only changed the faces in the White House, he said, referring to Obama who took office this year. Obama is a weakened man. He will not be able to stop the war.
(Reporting by Andrew Hammond; editing by Michael Roddy)