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'Bin Laden ordered Israel strike'

Alleged al-Zarqawi tape also criticizes Sunni, Iraqi leadership talks

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A staircase in a residential building in Kiryat Shimona was damaged by one of the missiles.

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(CNN) -- A December rocket attack against northern Israel was ordered by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, an audio statement attributed to fugitive terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed Monday.

"The rockets fired at the grandchildren of monkeys and pigs from the south of Lebanon was only the start of a blessed in-depth strike against the Zionist enemy," said the statement, which was posted on militant Islamic Web sites.

"All that was on the instructions of the sheikh of the mujahedeen, Osama bin Laden, may God protect him."

CNN was unable to immediately verify the statement's authenticity.

The three rockets were fired December 27 from Lebanon into the Israeli town of Kiryat Shimona. The attack resulted in minor damage and no casualties.

Terror group al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack in Web posts December 29 on sites previously used by the group.

The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi is the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, having pledged his allegiance to bin Laden in October 2004.

His group has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings in Iraq and for the November suicide bombings of hotels in Jordan.

The United States has put a $25 million price on his head -- a bounty equal to that offered for bin Laden, now believed to be hiding in the mountains along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the latest statement, the speaker also criticizes the Sunni Arab-led Iraqi Islamic Party and its allies for entering into talks with Iraq's nascent government and U.S. officials, accusing the party of selling out Iraqis for a share of power.

"They are the ones who carried out the talks with Zalmay Khalilzad -- the American ambassador, the ruler of Iraq -- when he met with their representatives in the Green Zone before the elections, asking them to vote for the constitution and you will have what you want," the speaker says.

"And the deal was made. Then the party started giving out these tempting bribes to the tribal leaders to convince them to participate in the elections but in return of what? A parliament seat in exchange of the tribal leaders guaranteeing the security of the American forces in their regions.

"A religion is sold and a jihad is waived, all for a parliamentary seat."

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