DUBAI : A purported Al-Qaeda statement has threatened attacks in Europe if there is no response to a truce offer by Osama bin Laden that expires on July 15.
“To the European people… you only have a few more days to accept Osama’s peace offer or you will only have yourselves to blame,” said the statement carried by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat and attributed to the “Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades”.
The statement, whose authenticity could not be immediately verified, also told Muslims in the West to move to Muslim countries or avoid non-Muslim neighbourhoods in their host countries.
“To those Muslims living in the West… If you can migrate to Muslim countries, do so. He who does not have the means to leave should take precautions by living in Muslim neighbourhoods”, the statement said.
On April 15, the terror chief offered peace to European countries that refrain from aggression towards Muslims and those that pulled their troops out of the Muslim world within three months from its announcement.
Osama’s taped message, broadcast by the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television, said that for all European countries that accept the offer, “peace will come into force with the departure of (their) last soldier from our countries.”
“I present a reconciliation initiative… whose essence is our commitment to stop operations against all (European) countries if they promise not to be aggressive towards Muslims or interfere in their affairs, like the American plot against the big Islamic world,” said the voice on the tape.
“For those who want peace, we offer it to them. Stop spilling our blood to protect yours,” said the voice. “The solution is in your hands!”
European leaders promptly dismissed the apparent offer, saying the idea of negotiating with Osama was absurd.
Friday’s statement also advised Muslims staying in Western countries to stockpile food and be prepared to defend themselves.
“(He who stays) should store food for himself and his family, enough for a month, and should have the means to defend himself and his family… (He) should keep money at home enough for a month or longer”, it added.
The statement, a copy of which was later sent to AFP by Asharq al-Awsat, also warned that Yemen would become a “third swamp” for the United States.
It said the terror network aims to widen its conflict with the United States and lead it “into a third swamp, after Iraq and Afghanistan”.
“We say to the Brigades of Abu Ali al-Harithi that the leadership has chosen Yemen to be the third swamp for this era’s tyrant, the US”, the statement added.
It also said Al-Qaeda’s “leadership decided to discipline the blasphemous and puppet government (of Yemen)”.
“To the tyrant (President) Ali Abdulah Salah, did you understand the messages from Saada and al-Huthi?” the statement said, in reference to ongoing clashes in Yemen’s northern Saada province between supporters of extremist preacher Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi and the army.
Fighting since June 19 in the area, which lies near the border with Saudi Arabia, has left at least 81 dead, including 12 soldiers, according to an AFP count.
Yemeni authorities accuse him of stirring trouble by organising anti-US demonstrations.