'Qaeda' Tape Urges Iraqi Attacks

Osama Bin Laden tape Iraq
CBS/AP
The latest purported audiotape from al Qaeda urges Muslims to fight American troops in Iraq, as U.S. commanders worried that suspected attacks over the weekend signaled a new front in insurgents' campaign.

The supposed al Qaeda tape was obtained by the al-Arabiya televisition station. It featured the voice of a man claiming to be the terror groups' spokesman in Afghanistan, Abu Abdel Rahman al-Najdi.

"Mujahedeen in Iraq the entire world watched the fall of the Iraqi regime. Today it is watching your resistance to the Americans, the British and their agents," he said, according to a translation by Agence France- Presse. It then call on Iraqis to "pursue their resistance" and follow the example of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, where the tape claimed 1,200 U.S. and allied troops were killed.

The tape also claims that Taliban leader Mullah Omar and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden are alive and well, AFP reports.

Late Monday, Central Command announced that a First Armored Division soldier was killed by an explosive device. The incident took place in the Karadah District. The soldier was medically evacuated to a combat hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin. As of Sunday, 268 U.S. soldiers have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq

The tape comes at a time when U.S. troops are dealing with increased sabotage of their attempts to normalize Iraq, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

Attacks over the weekend on a water pipeline and prison in Iraq, and two suspicious fires at oil pipelines, raised concerns that Iraqi insurgents are now moving to hit Iraqi civilians and infrastructure.

In other developments:

  • An inquiry into the death of a British weapons expert has learned that a member of Tony Blair's inner circle warned that a September dossier on Iraq's weapons "does nothing to demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat from Saddam."
  • Huge fires burned in warehouses in northeast Baghdad, where 50 gunmen looted spare parts from buses and other state vehicles and set fires, a guard told The Associated Press.
  • Two U.S. soldiers were wounded in northern Iraq when guerrillas attacked their convoy with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. A spokesman for the Fourth Infantry Division says both soldiers are in stable condition. The incident happened east of Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein.
  • On Sunday, U.S. forces shot and killed two Iraqis in unrelated incidents. The military says one man had driven through a checkpoint north of Baghdad. The other was suspected of looting and failed to stop despite warning shots being fired.
  • Digging has started among the ruins of one of Saddam Hussein's palaces for casualties of the war, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society said Monday. The only major nationwide study was done by The Associated Press in May and June and documented 3,240 deaths between March 20 and April 20.
  • Fellow journalists accused U.S. troops of negligence in the shooting death of a Reuters cameraman, saying it was clear the victim was a newsman when soldiers on two tanks opened fire. Press advocacy groups called for an investigation.

    Mazen Dana, 43, was shot and killed by U.S. soldiers Sunday while videotaping near a U.S.-run prison on the outskirts of Baghdad. The U.S. Army said its soldiers mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    Press advocacy groups Reporters Without Borders and the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists demanded a full investigation into the shooting.

    A U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity that American soldiers saw Dana from a distance and mistook him for an Iraqi guerrilla, so they opened fire. When the soldiers came closer, they realized Dana was a journalist, the official said.

    "This is clearly another tragic incident, it is extremely regrettable," Central Command spokesman Sgt. Maj. Lewis Matson said.

    In the attack Dana was covering, U.S. military spokesman Spc. Anthony Reinoso said Sunday that someone fired two mortar rounds at the prison, killing six Iraqis and wounding 58. He didn't know whether the casualties were guards or prisoners, or who was responsible.

    The motivation was unclear. The Abu Ghraib prison, where Saddam's regime executed political prisoners and others, is being used by Iraq's U.S. occupiers to house high-security criminals. U.S. troops at and near the prison have been attacked in past months.

    Sunday's explosion in northern Baghdad blew a hole in a 5-foot-diameter water main, flooding streets. People waded through chest-high water in some areas. Witnesses said two men on a motorbike left a bag of explosives and detonated it minutes later.

    A suspicious fire continued to rage on Iraq's main northern oil export pipeline into Turkey, the U.S. Army said. Accounts varied over whether the blaze was accidental or an act of sabotage. It would take at least 10 days to repair the damaged pipeline, 4th Infantry Division spokeswoman Maj. Jocelyn Aberle said.

    The email uncovered by the British inquiry was from Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, to intelligence committee head John Scarlett.

    "In other words it shows he has the means but it does not demonstrate he has the motive to attack his neighbors let alone the west," the email read.

    "We will need to make it clear in launching the document that we do not claim that we have evidence that he is an imminent threat," the email continued. "The case we are making is that he has continued to develop WMD since 1998, and is in breach of U.N. resolutions."

    The dossier ultimately warned of a "serious and current threat".