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The appeal was made in a voice tape aired on Tuesday by the Al-Jazeera satellite television station throughout the Arab world and believed by U.S. officials to be authentic. It was broadcast as U.S. officials warned of devastating attacks within the U.S. and the Gulf, where U.S. forces are massing for a possible attack against Iraq.
``This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored,'' the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the Senate Budget Committee.
Even though U.S. officials point to ties between Al-Qaeda and Iraq, the speaker on the tape referred to Mr. Hussein and his associates as ``infidels.'' But he added that it was all right for his followers to temporarily cooperate with them.
Some analysts wondered at Osama's motives for issuing a statement supporting Iraq, given many countries' scepticism of U.S. allegations of Iraqi-Al-Qaeda links. Others worried that the recording would inflame Muslims against U.S. troops in the Gulf region.
On the tape, broadcast on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, the speaker advised Iraqis how to fight the Americans, based on Al-Qaeda's experience in Afghanistan.
``We stress the importance of martyrdom operations against the enemy, these attacks that have scared Americans and Israelis like never before,'' the man identified as Osama said.
``We advise about the importance of drawing the enemy into long, close and exhausting fighting, taking advantage of camouflaged positions in plains, farms, mountains and cities,'' he said.
The speaker urged the Iraqis to draw the Americans into urban combat.
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