New Delhi, India (CNSNews.com) - Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, declared a holy war on the United States Sunday, following America's retaliation against Afghanistan's Taliban government for allegedly harboring bin Laden.
In a video shown Sunday, bin Laden said, "America was hit by God in one of its softest spots." He did not directly claim responsibility for the attacks which razed the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon. However, he said that "a group of Muslims" was behind the jetliner attacks, which left more than 5,500 people dead.
The Saudi-born millionaire was shown on Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite television network, against a backdrop of rocks and flanked by commanders of his Al-Qaeda network and surrounded by automatic weapons. He gave his message after a spokesman for Al-Qaeda and the leader of the Egyptian Jihad organization delivered equally harsh warnings to the United States.
It was not clear when the video was made, but it was made during the day time and referred to the Sept 11 attacks, but not to retaliation by the United States and Britain.
"God guided the path of a group of Muslims who destroyed America and we implore Allah to raise them up and admit them to paradise," bin Laden said in the recording, without giving more specifics on those responsible. "America has been filled with fear from north to south and from east to west," he said.
"I swear by God that America and those who live in America won't dream of having security before we have it in Palestine and all infidel armies depart from the land of Mohammad," said bin Laden, accused by Washington of masterminding the anti-US attacks.
Bin Laden also said there was no comparison between the suffering Muslims had experienced at the hands of the United States and what Americans were experiencing today. "The Islamic nation has for decades suffered injustice and humiliation, with its sons killed and their blood shed," he said.
Suleiman Abu-Ghaith, identified as Al-Qaeda's official spokesman, urged Muslims to fight and the leader of the Egyptian Jihad organization, Ayman Zawahri, delivered an equally harsh message.
Abu Ghaith said the September 11 attacks were a "natural result of America's foolish (foreign) policy and blatant hostility to Islam and Muslims".
Recalling that the Soviet Union had been forced to withdraw from Afghanistan, Abu-Ghaith warned the United States that, "the moment it sets foot on the land of Afghanistan will mark the beginning of its downfall.
"The banner, announcing jihad (holy war) against Jews and Christians is raised as never before in our time. It has announced jihad against Americans, it has announced jihad against those who seek to soil the sanctuaries of Muslims and against the occupation of their territory," he warned.