Osama bin Laden threatens retaliation if 9/11 suspects executed

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his capture.
Image: Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Osama bin Laden.

In an audio tape posted on Al Jazeera, a voice identified as that of Osama bin Laden has warned the United States that al-Qaeda will retaliate if the US decides to execute the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

"The White House has declared its wish to execute [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged conspirators]. The day the United States takes such a decision, it would be also taking the decision that any of you falling into our hands will be executed," said a voice on the 74-second-long tape, which is believed to be Bin Laden's.

Osama also denounced US president Barack Obama, for "oppressing our prisoners that you are holding, beginning with the mujahid [holy warrior] hero Khaled al-Sheikh Mohammed." He said that US politicians "oppressed us and still do, especially by backing Israel, which occupies the land of Palestine".

"God willing, our attacks against you will continue as long as you maintain your support to Israel. America should not dream of security until we enjoy it as a reality in Palestine," the tape continued. "They used to think that America across the oceans is protected from the rage of the oppressed until our reaction was loudly heard at your home on the 9/11 with God’s help."

Khaled Sheikh Mohammed is expected to stand trial in the US, along with four accused co-conspirators, in 2011. It is currently unclear whether he will be tried in a civilian or military court; prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded to the message in a statement. "The president has rightly increased our tempo and put pressure on the al-Qaeda network. We see that al-Qaeda has nothing to spread but hate and that's why the administration will keep up the pressure to destroy the al-Qaeda network," he commented.