September 14 10:48 AM ET

Hamas, Egypt Group Back Taliban, Urge Muslim Unity

GAZA (Reuters) - A senior official of the Islamist militant
group Hamas, echoing calls by Taliban clerics in
Afghanistan, urged Muslims on Friday to unite against any
U.S. retaliation for the terror attacks in New York and

In Cairo, the spokesman of Egypt's largest Muslim
fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, defended the
Taliban's threat of revenge for any U.S. action against
Afghanistan and urged Washington to show restraint.

"I join the cause for Muslims to be united in order to deter
the United States from launching war against Muslims in
Afghanistan," the Hamas official, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi,
said in response to the calls by clerics in Kabul.

"It is impossible for Muslims to stand handcuffed and
blindfolded while other Muslims, their brothers, are being
attacked. The Muslim world should stand up against the
American threats which are fed by the Jews," Rantissi told

Taliban clerics used Friday prayers to urge Muslims around
the world to unite against the United States if it attacked
Afghanistan, and threatened revenge "by other means" in the
event of such attacks.

The United States says Osama bin Laden, who lives in
Afghanistan as a "guest" of the Taliban, is a prime suspect
in Tuesday's attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center
in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington, killing

Hamas has carried out a series of suicide attacks in Israel
during the nearly year-old Palestinian uprising against
Israeli occupation, killing scores of Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority, led by President Yasser Arafat,
had no comment on the Taliban's call for Muslim unity.

In Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mamoun Hudaibi
defended the Taliban position. "What else can they say when
the United States is threatening to bomb them?" he asked.

While stating that Tuesday's terror attack on the United
States "contradicts all human and Islamic values," Hudaibi
condemned all forms of terrorism.

"We don't advocate terrorism, whether it's from people or
governments," he said. "We hope that the United States
itself does not take terrorist steps," he added.

Some Palestinians in Gaza voiced fears the United States
would attack Afghanistan and punish an entire nation for the

"The Taliban should not be used as a scapegoat. The United
States is behaving like a wounded and bleeding lion that
wants to hit everywhere and anything," said Fares Abbas, 25,
a Gaza taxi driver.

"(It is) just like Rambo being publicly beaten by a child,"
he said, referring to the machinegun-wielding Hollywood
movie character.

Gaza shopkeeper Hani Aoudi, 45, said: "As Arabs and Muslims
condemned the terrorist attack on the United States, they
have to warn the United States against any attack of madness
on Afghanistan or elsewhere."

"It's not the fault of the nation; it's some individuals who
carried out an action. The United States must wait for the
result of the investigation and then decide through the
United Nations and not alone as usual," he said.

September 14 6:54 AM ET

Taliban Warn of Revenge if U.S. Attacks Afghanistan

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taliban warned on
Friday of revenge "by other means" if the United States
attacked their country in retaliation for the deadly terror
attacks on Washington and New York.

The warning came as fundamentalist Taliban clerics in the
capital used Friday prayers to urge the world's Muslims to
unite against the U.S.

"Oh Muslims of the world, we should unite together if the
United States attacks us," one cleric told the faithful at a
Kabul mosque. The theme was repeated across the capital.

Washington says Osama bin Laden, who lives in Afghanistan as
a "guest" of the Taliban, is a prime suspect in connection
with Tuesday's deadly attacks. It has vowed to strike
against those responsible as well as any country which
harbours them.

Abdul Hai Mutamaen, the Taliban's chief spokesman, warned of
revenge if the U.S. attacked. "We will take revenge if
America attacks through different means," he told reporters
without elaborating.

September 14 7:37 AM ET

Pakistani Papers Urge Caution on U.S. Cooperation

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistani newspapers on Friday cautioned
Islamabad about its offer to cooperate with the United
States to hunt down those behind this week's deadly terror
attacks in New York and Washington.

A leading English language newspaper, The News, said
high-level contacts between Pakistani and U.S. officials
raise questions about the cooperation and assistance that
Pakistan would be willing to extend.

"This is of considerable importance as Pakistan's experience
of fulfilling the roles it was given by the U.S. ... have
not always been salubrious," the paper said in its
editorial, referring to Islamabad's role as the base for the
U.S.-directed war against the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of

Tuesday's attacks are believed to have killed thousands of
people. Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, who is
sheltered by ruling Taliban in Afghanistan, is the prime

Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, under
international pressure for backing the Taliban, on Thursday
pledged full cooperation to President Bush and condemned the
attack as "brutal and horrible."

In its editorial, The News said: ``Participating in any U.S.
operation will be just as hazardous as not participating in
it. Islamabad faces a virtual catch 22 situation, and much
as it might want, its options are limited.''

The prestigious Friday Times weekly wrote in an editorial
that if Islamabad agrees to assist American action against
Kabul it could be the beginning of the end of Pakistan's
Afghan and Kashmir policy.

"The U.S. will expect the Pakistani government to stop
playing both sides and stand by, if necessary with men and
materials, to assist American action against Kabul," it

The paper said if Islamabad refused to cooperate, the United
States might have few qualms about embracing historical
rival India and turning the screws on Pakistan, plunging it
into economic ruin and political anarchy.

The daily Nation, in its editorial titled "Action against
Osama," said Washington should take stock of public reaction
in the Muslim world, which is far more ambivalent than the
government's straight forward condemnation of the attack.

"It hopes to obtain full Pakistani would be
better if it could muster more support for any action than
it presently has," it said.

September 14 8:48 PM SGT

Terror attacks on US a warning from God: Mullah

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - The terrorist attacks on New York
and Washington were a warning from God for the United States
to stop persecuting Muslims, an Islamic cleric told Friday
prayers here.

"The destruction in America was God's warning in response to
its anti-Muslim policies," Qari Hussain Ahmed Madani told
congregants at a mosque in Peshawar, on Pakistan's border
with Afghanistan.

"A couple of strikes has turned America from a super power
to zero power," he said.

"Still there is some time for the American government to
learn a few lessons and stop atrocities against Muslims in
the world.

"A time will come when God will wipe out America from the
world map if it continues with brutalities against Muslims."

While stressing that he condemned the attacks which left
more than 5,000 people dead, the cleric went on to warn the
United States that any retaliatory action against
Afghanistan or Osama bin Laden would only lead to a new
cycle of violence.

"We warn America not to attack Afghanistan or Osama bin
Laden, otherwise it will suffer greater losses," Madani

"Whatever sympathies Americans have gained after the
terrorist attacks would turn to hatred and vengeance if it
attempted to target Osama or Afghanistan."

In Kabul, a mullah in the city's biggest mosque called
Friday for Muslims around the world to unite and be ready to
die to resist a United States attack on Afghanistan.

"Muslims should unite with each other against a possible US
attack," the mullah told a packed audience at the Wazir
Akbarkhan Mosque. "Life and death is in the power of Allah.
Without his intention there would be no death."

The cleric said statements from US officials naming Osama
bin Laden as a suspect in this week's terrorist attacks on
New York and Washington were preparing the ground for an
attack on Afghanistan.

"Osama is only a pretext. Allah almighty says in his book
(the Koran) that Jews and Christians won't be satisfied
until you fully obey them.

"If we bowed to their wishes then there would be no

In contrast to the belligerent tone adopted in Peshewar,
clerics in mosques in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, offered
prayers for the victims of the attacks.

Scores of Pakistanis are feared to have died in the World
Trade Centre, where a total of 650 Pakistani nationals
worked, according to government figures.

September 14, 2001

Palestinians rally for bin Laden

Hundreds of Palestinian members of Hamas demonstrated today
in Gaza City, in Ramallah, and the Nuseirat refugee camp in
Jericho, Israel Radio reported.

At the rallies in Gaza and Ramallah, demonstrators waved
pictures of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Palestinian policemen seized videotapes of the event taken
by cameramen working for foreign networks and ordered them
not to film any further.

September 14, 2001

Al-Ahram: It's the US's own fault

Egypt's official daily Al-Ahram wrote today that America's
"two-faced" and "unjust" policy in the Middle East is what
prepared the ground for the barbaric attacks on New York and
Washington this week, Israel Radio reported.

Despite our sympathy for their distress and our
understanding of their anger, the editor of Al-Ahram writes,
we have to ask the Americans to act intelligently.

The paper quoted Gen. Maguid Omar as saying the World Trade
Center was targeted because it symbolized US control over
the world's economy at the expense of the poor, and the
Pentagon was hit because the US has employed blind force
ever since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Iran exiles say base attacked, Iraqis hurt
BAGHDAD, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Iran's main opposition group
said a number of Iraqi civilians were injured when Iranian
government agents launched a cross-border rocket attack on
one of its bases in Iraq on Thursday.

"The clerical regime launched a cowardly terrorist attack on
Thursday using 107mm rockets against a Mujahideen camp on
the outskirts of the town of Jalawla 30 km (18 miles) from
the Iran-Iraq border," the People's Mujahideen Organisation
of Iran said in a statement faxed to Reuters in Baghdad on

"The assailants fled back to Iran after firing five rockets.
None of the rockets hit the Mujahideen camp, but all landed
on residential areas in Jalawla, injuring a number of
innocent Iraqi civilians," it said.

The attack on Thursday was the 127th reported since 1993, it

There was no immediate confirmation of the Mujahideen report
from the Iraqi government.

The Mujahideen's Camp Anzali near Jalawla was among bases
targeted by Iran's Scud missile attack at the organisation's
bases inside Iraq on April 18.

The exile group's bases have been the target of air and
rocket attacks by Iran. Their office in Baghdad, ringed by a
concrete wall, has survived mortar and bomb attacks.

Tehran regularly criticises the Iraqi government for failing
to prevent Mujahideen activity. Iraq in turn accuses Iran of
providing refuge for Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim dissidents who
mount hit-and-run attacks in southern Iraq.

Iraq and Iran fought a ruinous war from 1980-88 and are
still at loggerheads over several issues, such as
repatriating prisoners of war and the 100 or more planes
sent by Baghdad to Iran to escape bombing during the 1991
Gulf War.

U.S. focuses on Bin Laden links with Hizbullah, Arafat's

Friday, September 14, 2001

WASHINGTON — The United States is investigating whether a
coalition of Palestinian, Iranian and Lebanese groups joined
to help launch the suicide attacks in New York and

U.S. defense sources said the Pentagon and CIA are quickly
coming to the conclusion that Saudi billionaire fugitive
Osama Bin Laden was the sponsor of the attack. But they said
Bin Laden is believed to have used a range of Islamic groups
for logistics and support.

The groups being investigated include the Fatah movement
headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, the
sources said. Another group being examined for a link to the
U.S. attacks is the Iranian-backed Hizbullah, Middle East
Newsline reports.

"Most of it today points to Osama Bin Laden," Sen. Charles
Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance
Committee, said. "But the speculation at the end of the road
is that he and his network were very much involved with
Hizbullah, Fatah and other."

Grassley was one of at least two dozen House and Senate
members who were briefed by U.S. intelligence agencies since
the bombing.

A U.S. official confirmed that the administration has not
ruled out that Bin Laden was provided aid by a range of Arab
and Islamic groups. But the official said no determination
has been made.

"We want to be sure we understand all the connections, not
just one connection," the official said. "As we find out who
actually perpetrated the crime, as we find out who they're
connected with, as we find out who could be considered
harboring them, I think it'll come clear."

Analysts and some congressional sources are complaining that
the Bush administration appears unwilling to thoroughly
investigate the involvement of Iraq in the U.S. attacks.
They said that the administration fears that targeting Iraq
would dash hopes for an Arab coalition against terrorism in
the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the United States has
not yet determined who was behind the bombing. Rumsfeld said
a determination would have to be made soon.

The administration has requested $20 billion for a
counterterrorism campaign. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
said much of the requested allocation would prepare the
military for an expected counterattack.

"I don't think we know the breakdown yet, partly because the
needs are so enormous," Wolfowitz said. "A significant piece
of this is going to be to bring our armed forces to the
highest level of preparedness."