Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, has released a new audiotape calling on fighters in Iraq to unite and stand shoulder to shoulder.
In the tape broadcast by Al Jazeera on Monday, a voice sounding like bin Laden admitted that mistakes have been made in Iraq and exhorted the fighters to rectify them.
“Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks,” bin Laden said. “Beware of division … The Muslim world is waiting for you to gather under one banner.”
In the audio recording, entitled “a message to the people of Iraq”, bin Laden called on tribal leaders and the leaders of armed groups to initiate an agreement between the different groups.
“The interest of the Islamic nation surpasses that of a group,” he said.
In recent months Sunni tribal groups have formed alliances and worked with US forces to confront al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Clashes have flared in an Israeli jail, with about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners attacking prison guards and torching the tents where they had been held.
Thirty people were injured in the incident which occurred early on Monday at the Ketziot prison in the southern Negev desert, a prison spokesman said.
Ian Domnitz, a spokesman for the Israel Prisons Authority, said the violence broke out after guards began searching prisoners’ bunks for contraband.
The Prisoners Club, the main group representing Palestinians held in Israel, termed the cell searches “provocative”.
Ketziot is set up like a military camp, with security prisoners quartered in tents rather than buildings.
In Monday’s riot, prisoners set 10 tents on fire and attacked the guards, wounding 15 of them, Domnitz said.
Prison officers moved in to quell the riot, injuring 15 prisoners, he said.
Four prisoners were hospitalised, with one critically wounded by a “non-lethal weapon”, Domnitz said.
“The weapon was used in response to the endangerment of the lives of prison officers in the cell block,” he said.
In the West Bank, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, accused Israel of conducting a “repression campaign” against the prisoners.
* This is what you have to expect from Mahmud Abbas…
He said the prison guards had used clubs, stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd and said 250 people were injured.