OBL Claims Fight of 'Blessed Terrorism'

ByABC News
December 26, 2001, 8:24 PM

Dec. 26 -- Osama bin Laden accused U.S. officials of being criminals because of their attacks in Afghanistan, and claimed on a videotape released today that al Qaeda terrorism is "blessed terrorism" because it avenges oppression of Muslims.

Bin Laden made the remarks immediately denounced by U.S. officials as "ludicrous" in an excerpt of a longer statement to be broadcast on the Arabic-language al Jazeera news channel. Al Jazeera today broadcast the excerpt, in which bin Laden denounced U.S. attacks as "crusader hatred toward Islam." The station promised to release the full statement on Thursday.

On the tape, bin Laden claims the message marks three months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America. However, it could not immediately be established exactly when the tape was recorded.

"It has become very clear that the West generally, but America especially, bears an indescribable amount of crusader hatred toward Islam," bin Laden says on the excerpt, according to a translation by ABCNEWS. "These people who claim to represent humanity and freedom, we saw here their true criminality. All you need to kill a human being is seven grams of shrapnel. But because America hates the Taliban so much, and because it hates the Muslims, it [dropped] on our brothers on the front lines bombs that weigh seven tons each.

"[U.S. officials say] it is their right to exterminate people as long as they are Muslim, and not American," bin Laden adds. "This is true crime, clear and blatant."

Citing oppression of Muslims in various parts of the world, including the plight of the Palestinians, bin Laden concludes, "our terrorism against America is blessed terrorism."

The United States blames bin Laden for the Sept. 11 attacks, and began a military assault on Oct. 7 against Afghanistan's former Taliban government after the Taliban ignored U.S. demands to turn over bin Laden or members of his al Qaeda organization.

A U.S. Central Command spokesman today denounced bin Laden's new comments, saying: "Any statement that the U.S. is against any type of religion is ludicrous, because we're not. On the same night the bombing started, we started dropping food, because we were trying to show that we did not have a problem with the people of Afghanistan, only with the al Qaeda and the Taliban and their ruthless regime."