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Purported new bin Laden audio airs

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: New audiotape is titled "Letter to the People of Iraq"
  • Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera airs audiotape said to be of bin Laden
  • Tape has bin Laden urging al Qaeda and other groups to unite in Iraq
  • CNN Arabic Affairs senior editor says voice sounds like bin Laden's
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(CNN) -- Al-Jazeera broadcast Monday an audio message purportedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden calling on al Qaeda and other groups in Iraq to unify their forces and speak with one voice, that of the Islamic nation.

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Osama bin Laden in an undated photograph.

The Arabic-language broadcaster said the tape was titled "Letter to the People of Iraq."

The message includes no dated references, making it impossible to determine when it was taped based on its contents. In the message, bin Laden calls on his followers to be loyal to the Islamic nation, not to individual leaders, groups, tribes or countries.

The tape marks the first time bin Laden speaks directly to the militants.

"Beware of your enemies, especially those who infiltrate your ranks," he said in Arabic.

"I advise myself and the Islamic nation not to follow individuals and countries," he said. "Everything should be seen in the light of Islam."

Addressing the mujahedeen in Iraq as "my brothers," he said, "You have done well to perform your duty, but some of you have been late to another duty, which is to unify your ranks and make them into one line." Video Watch description of tape purportedly from bin Laden »

Though CNN is not able to confirm that the voice belongs to bin Laden, the Arabic-language broadcaster has aired other tapes of his and the voice sounded like bin Laden's, said CNN Arabic Affairs senior editor Octavia Nasr.

Last month, an audio message from bin Laden called on Muslims to "carry out jihad" against Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

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Last month's 23-minute audio message -- titled "Come to Jihad: A Speech to the People of Pakistan" -- was recorded over a montage of old video, and began with bin Laden reciting prayers and citations from the Quran in Arabic. The audio then faded, and a narrator translated bin Laden's message into Pashto. The tape was subtitled in English, and an Arabic transcript was released.

Terrorism analyst Laura Mansfield told CNN that while the September 20 message was directed at the Pakistani people, "the simultaneous release of transcripts in English, Pashto and Arabic indicate the terror group is looking at a wider audience, including the English-speaking world." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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