Al Qaeda has released a new message from Osama bin Laden, the first since the terror group's leader was killed in a U.S. raid on his Pakistan compound almost three weeks ago.
The 13-minute audiotape, which references the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, includes still images emblazoned with an old picture of bin Laden and dated with the Islamic month that begins in the last week of April. It seems to have been recorded after Feb. 17.
According to U.S. officials, it is the same as one of the taped messages found by Navy SEALs during the raid on the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was killed earlier this month.
In the message, bin Laden addresses fellow Muslims across the Middle East, but does not issue threats and does not mention the U.S. or the West.
Instead, he celebrates their struggle with flowery language, and tells them it would be a "sin to lose this opportunity."
"The winds of change flew to the square of Tahrir," he says, referring to Cairo, "and a great revolution was begun. This wasn't a revolution of starving and pain, but a revolution of giving and peace."
"The great oppression in our countries has reached great levels, and we have delayed enough the wave of change," says bin Laden. "Let the truth ring out. Remember those that go out with a sword are true believers, those that go fight with their tongue are true believers, and those that fight in their hearts are true believers.
"Oh Muslims, you have seen many revolutions in your past," says bin Laden. "Those that the people have been so happy about, but then have turned into nothing. And the way to keep these revolutions from having the same problem is fighting ignorance. And some of the most important information is Islam. For this is the true crisis that has hit our nations."
The tape, released on Islamist websites Wednesday, is the first new bin Laden tape to surface posthumously, but U.S. officials expect others to be released because there were other taped messages found during the search of bin Laden's house.