Purported Bin Laden Tape Offers ‘Truce’

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The tape, which ran in full at more than seven minutes, also vowed revenge against America for the Israeli assassination of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin and denounced the United States as using the Iraq war for corporate profiteering.


The speaker’s identity could not be immediately verified.


Dia’a Rashwan, a Cairo expert on Islamic militants, said the voice sounded like bin Laden, though it deviated from his old pattern of labeling Europeans as “the Crusader-Jewish alliance.”


The tape made clear overtures to Europeans, calling them “our neighbors north of the Mediterranean,” and tried to drive a wedge between Europe and the United States.


The latest message said “the door to a truce is open for three months.” This time frame, the voice said, could be extended. “The truce will begin when the last soldier leaves our countries,” the speaker said without elaborating.


In London, a British opposition spokesman said the purported truce offered was a sign that the al-Qaida network is rattled.


The voice on the tape defended al-Qaida’s methods.