Bin Laden Warns US Against Executing 9/11 Mastermind

Osama bin Laden resurfaced yesterday in an audio message in which he threatened to kill American prisoners if a US court decides to execute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The short message, broadcast by al-Jazeera, accused President Obama of continuing the policies of his predecessors “especially by supporting Israel in its continued occupation of Palestine”. It warned that if the death penalty is carried out against Mr Mohammed, al-Qaeda will “execute whoever we capture”.

The message was ridiculed by a senior US counter-terrorism official as “the height of absurdity” for suggesting that al-Qaeda had only now resolved to murder US citizens. “They may have forgotten Danny Pearl and all the others they’ve slaughtered but we haven’t,” the official said, referring to The Wall Street Journal reporter who was beheaded in 2002.

Experts tentatively confirmed that the voice on the tape was that of the al-Qaeda leader, who was last heard from in January.

The Obama Administration said in November that Mr Mohammed would be tried in a civilian court close to Ground Zero in New York but has since backtracked after protest from 9/11 victims’ groups. Only one known US soldier, Private Bowe Bergdahl, is being held by al-Qaeda. He was captured in Afghanistan last year.
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