01-22-2011, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Bin Laden Threatens French Hostages With Death In New Tape.
Bin Laden Threatens French Hostages With Death In New Tape - ABC News
Bin Laden message warns France to pull out of Afghanistan – Afghanistan Crossroads - CNN.com Blogs
By SARAH O. WALI and LEE FERRAN
Jan. 22, 2011
In a newly released audiotape message to the French people, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden threatens death to French hostages held by an Al Qaeda affiliate in Africa unless French troops leave Afghanistan.
In the message, Bin Laden's second to the French people in less than six months, he says that by keeping troops in Afghanistan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has given the "green light" to "kill your captives immediately."
Bin Laden does not name the hostages but is apparently referring to five French citizens who were working for the French nuclear giant Areva in Niger when they were kidnapped in September. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of Al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the abduction, and has released pictures of the men in captivity.
The same group also claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Frenchmen in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on Jan. 7. Both were killed the next day during a rescue attempt by police and French special forces.
French ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero responded to the taped threat today, telling reporters the French government would not change their stance on Afghanistan, and that their presence was meant to help the Afghan people.
"We are determined to pursue our action in favor of the Afghan people with our allies," he said.
The release of the recording coincides with French Minister of State Michèle Alliot-Marie's five-day tour through the Middle East, which includes visits to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"France stands beside her allies at the request of the UN to help the Afghan people," she told reporters in Israel.