Al-Qaida spokesman says leave Arab lands or else

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Al-Qaida spokesman says leave Arab lands or else

A spokesman for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network has warned the US and Britain to leave the Arabian peninsula. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith says Muslims in the US and Britain should avoid travelling on planes. He was speaking on a tape aired on Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel.

He added that Al-Qaida had ordered the Americans and British to leave the Arabian Peninsula because the "land will burn with fire under their feet, God willing". Sulaiman Abu Ghaith also criticised US Secretary of State Colin Powell for doubting his earlier comments on Tuesday that thousands of young Muslims were looking forward to their death in a "storm of planes that will destroy America." He said: "Powell knows that if al-Qaida promised and warned, it will deliver, God willing. The news is what you see, not what you hear. "Storms are not going to calm, especially the storm of planes until America withdraws in defeat from Afghanistan."

He threatened George W Bush and his father, as well as Bill Clinton and Ariel Sharon, for "their terrible practices and the worst crimes" against "millions of Muslims". He stated that "millions of Muslims, men, women and children, have died without doing anything" adding their "blood will not go in vain". Sulaiman Abu Ghaith went on to say that the leaders were on the "top list of Zionists and crusaders", adding: "They are not going to escape punishment."

Story filed: 22:35 Saturday 13th October 2001

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