Bin Laden Praises Zarqawi In New Tape

This image made Thursday, June 29, 2006 from an undated video, shows an undated still photo, left, of Osama bin Laden alongside a video of the late chief of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
AP Photo/IntelCenter
Osama bin Laden called on President Bush in an audiotape released Friday to release the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and said Jordan should allow the slain terrorist to be buried in his homeland.

He also vowed more attacks against the United States in the Middle East and Africa.

Bin Laden calls Zarqawi both a "prince" and a "lion of the holy war" in his 19-minute tribute to al-Zarqawi, CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports. Bin Laden also said the former al Qaeda in Iraq leader had been under orders to kill Iraqis who supported U.S. forces in the country.

"We will continue to fight you and your allies everywhere, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan to run down your resources and kill your men until you return defeated to your nation," he said, addressing Mr. Bush. His voice sounded breathy and fatigued at times.

The clear implication in the message, Roth reports, is that there's no dispute within al Qaeda about terror tactics, and there's no question that bin Laden is still in charge.

Although a new video of the terrorist leader has not been seen since October 2004, this was the fourth audio message purportedly put out this year by bin Laden. The voice in the latest message — released on an Islamic Web forum where militants often post messages — resembled that on previous recordings attributed to bin Laden, but the authenticity of the tape could not be immediately confirmed.

Al-Zarqawi was killed in a June 7 airstrike northeast of Baghdad by U.S. warplanes. Bin Laden said Mr. Bush should return al-Zarqawi's body and that Jordan's King Abdullah II should allow the militant's family to bury him.

The Jordanian government has said it will never allow al-Zarqawi to be buried in his homeland because of a November triple suicide bombing his followers carried out in Amman hotels that killed 60 people.

"What scares you about Abu Musab after he's dead?" bin Laden said, addressing Abdullah. "You know that his funeral, if allowed to happen, would be a huge funeral showing the extent of sympathy with the mujahedeen."

The audio message was accompanied by a video showing an old photo of bin Laden next to images of al-Zarqawi taken from a previous video.
The message bore the logo of As-Sahab, the al Qaeda production branch that releases all its messages. Typically, the CIA does a technical analysis to determine whether the speaker is who the tape claims and the National Counterterrorism Center analyzes the message's contents.

Since the discovery of the new message, the hunt for Zarqawi's successor has only intensified, CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan reports. Friday morning both U.S. And coalition troops mounted a raid just north of Baghdad. It ended up in a fire fight, CBS News has learned.

According to Cowan, there's no word on any U.S. casualties, but at least three insurgents were killed and several more were captured.

In the tape, bin Laden effusively praised the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi, often in rhyming couplets.

"Al-Zarqawi's story will live forever with the stories of the nobles, so don't cry over one who is not missing," bin Laden said. "He can teach the world a lesson on how to seize freedom ... and how to resist tyrants."