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Bin Laden issues warning to France

Photo by Production WBKO

Photo by Production WBKO

In the tape obtained by satellite television station Al-Jazeera and then posted on its website on Wednesday, Osama bin Laden said France was aiding the Americans in the killing of Muslim women and children in an apparent reference to the war in Afghanistan. He said the kidnapping of five French citizens in the African nation of Niger last month was a reaction to what he called France's oppression of Muslims.

France has about 4,000 troops deployed in or near Afghanistan.

"How can it be right that you participate in the occupation of our lands, support the Americans in the killing of our women and children and yet want to live in peace and security?" said bin Laden, addressing the French.

"It is a simple and clear equation: As you kill, you will be killed. As you capture, you will be captured. And as you threaten our security, your security will be threatened. The way to safeguard your security is to cease your oppression and its impact on our nation, most importantly your withdrawal from the ill-fated Bush war in Afghanistan."

"You need to think of what happened to America as a result of that unjust war," bin Laden said, again addressing the French and referring to the war in Afghanistan. "It's on the verge of bankruptcy ... and tomorrow it will retreat to beyond the Atlantic."

France passed a law this month that will ban the wearing of face-covering burqa-style Muslim veils in public starting in April. Many Muslims have expressed fears the law would stigmatize them.

"If you deemed it your right to ban (Muslim) women from wearing the hijab, then should not it be our right to expel your invading men by striking their necks?" bin Laden said.

The authenticity of the tape could not be immediately verified but the voice resembled that of the terror group leader on previous tapes determined to be genuine.