New Al Qaida statement warns of major attack on U.S.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Al Qaida has again warned of a major strike in the United States.

The Al Qaida warning was relayed via the Tajamu Reform Party of Yemen in a statement proposing terms of reconciliation with the government which has been under pressure to cooperate with the United States in the war on terrorism.

"A major strike, a big event will take place in America soon," the statement said.

In its statement, Al Qaida termed Sanaa as the second most cooperative partner in the U.S.-led war against the Islamic insurgency movement. The group said Pakistan was the chief ally of the United States.

On Jan. 24, Yemen acknowledged that it cooperated with the United States in the assassination of Abu Sinan Ali Al Harithi, the leading Al Qaida insurgent in Yemen, in December 2002, Middle East Newsline reported.

Yemeni Vice President Abbed Rabbo Mansour said Yemen turned to the CIA for help in tracking and killing Al Harithi, who was targeted by a Predator unmanned air vehicle armed with an anti-tank missile.

The Tajamu Reform Party has been regarded as an ally of Osama Bin Laden, whose family comes from Yemen.

"The branch of the organization in Yemen promised the state as a goodwill gesture that the initiative will be favoured by Sheik Osama Bin Laden or one of the senior leaders of the global Al Qaida organization, through a communique or statement in which the subject will be referred implicitly or explicitly," a statement released by the so-called Yemeni branch of Al Qaida and published in Al Sahwanet, the mouthpiece of the Islamic-oriented opposition party, said.

In its purported statement, Al Qaida offered to reconcile with Yemen.

Bin Laden was said to have offered a deal to end attacks against Western interests in Yemen in exchange for allowing insurgents freedom of movement. Yemen has been under heavy U.S. and Saudi pressure to cooperate in operations against Al Qaida.

Al Qaida, the statement said, wanted Yemen to allow Islamic insurgents to fight the United States and Israel in such countries as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority. Yemen, however, was said to have rejected the proposal.

[In Kabul, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan predicted that Bin Laden would be captured in 2004. "Their day has ended and this year will decisively sound the death knell of their movements in Afghanistan," Lt. Gen. David Barno said during a ceremony on Tuesday.]

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