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U-S Says New bin Laden Statement Insults Muslims - 2001-11-03


The United States is calling chief terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden's latest televised statement condemning moderate Muslims an act of desperation.

A White House spokeswoman said Saturday the speech is just more propaganda and shows how isolated he is.

She says he may have just destroyed his standing in the Arab world -- alienating millions of Muslims and insulting such world leaders as Jordan's King Adballah, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Qatari-based al-Jazeera television broadcast the statement in which Osama bin Laden denounced the United Nations and called Arab leaders who cooperate with it "infidels."

He also said Muslims, who support President Bush, have abandoned their religion. He called the fight against Taleban and terrorist targets in Afghanistan a religious war pitting Christians against Muslims.

It is unclear when or where he taped the statement.

Meanwhile, U-S Marine Harrier jets made their first bombing runs against Taleban targets in Afghanistan Saturday. The unique fighter jets can take-off and land like helicopters.

Without giving details, a Marine spokesman said the Harriers hit command and control targets in southern Afghanistan.

Other U-S planes attacked an area outside Kabul and Taleban front-line targets in the north.

Opposition Northern Alliance leaders say their forces captured territory in a major victory against the Taleban south of the strategic city of Mazar-e-Sharif. They claim to have taken 200 Taleban prisoners and say that hundreds of other Taleban fighters defected. There has been no independent confirmation of the report.

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