Bin Laden Accuses Pope of 'New Crusade'

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Osama bin Laden threatened severe attacks on Europeans and accused Pope Benedict XVI of helping in a "new Crusade" against Islam.

Click play to watch CBN News Terror Analyst Erick Stakelbeck's report.

The threat comes in his latest audiotape, posted late Wednesday on a militant Web site that has carried al-Qaeda statements in the past.

He warns severe reaction is coming because Danish newspapers reprinted a cartoon that shows Muhammad bearing a bomb-shaped turban. Bin Laden says the cartoons are part of crusade against Islam.

"The response will be what you see and not what you hear and let our mothers bereave us if we do not make victorious our messenger of (Allah)," said a man on the tape believed to be bin Laden.

He said the cartoons "came in the framework of a new Crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican has played a large, lengthy role," according to a translated transcript released by the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. group that monitors terror messages.

'Reckoning Will Be Severe'

"You went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings," he said. "This is the greater and more serious tragedy, and reckoning for it will be more severe."

A Vatican spokesman said bin Laden's accusation against the pope is "baseless." He said the pope on several occasions has criticized the cartoons, first published in several European newspapers in 2006 and republished by Danish papers in February.

The paper says it wanted to show its commitment to freedom of speech.

Muslims viewed the cartoons as an insult, depicting the prophet as violent. Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

One U.S. group that monitors terrorists says it's a clear threat against EU member countries and could indicate an upcoming attack.

Source: The Associated Press

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