Washington: In a new audio recording, Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has threatened to capture and kill Americans if Washington decides to execute the alleged 9/11 masterminds Khalid al Sheikh Mohammed or any other Al Qaeda suspects.
“It (the execution) would mean the U.S. has issued a death sentence against whoever of you becomes a prisoner in our hands,” Fox News quoted bin Laden, as saying in a 74-second audio tape aired on Al-Jazeera television.
“Your friend at the White House is still walking in the footsteps of those before (him) in many important matters,” including stepping up the war in Afghanistan and “oppressing our prisoners that you are holding, beginning with the mujahid hero Khalid al Sheikh Mohammed,” he added.
He went on to say that US politicians have “oppressed us and still do, especially by backing Israel, which occupies the land of Palestine.”
While it is still not clear whether Al Qaeda has any U.S. captives, the Pak-Taliban is holding an American soldier it captured in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is still considering whether to put Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan in 2003, and four of his co-plotters on military tribunal for their role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
In 2008, the US charged him with murder and war crimes in connection with the 9/11 attacks, and Pentagon officials are going to seek the death penalty for him.
Responding to bin Laden’s latest audio, a US counterterrorism official said: “It”s the height of absurdity for anyone associated with Al Qaeda to even suggest that now, at long last, they”re going to start treating captives badly. They may have forgotten Danny Pearl and all the others they”ve slaughtered, but we haven”t.”
“If this is bin Laden and he wants to weigh in on legal proceedings involving 9/11 conspirators, I challenge him to show up in court to make his case. Frankly, that”s about all the comment this deserves,” he added.