Bin Laden calls for militant unity
Osama bin Laden called for Iraqi insurgents to unite and avoid divisive “extremism,” speaking in an audiotape aired Monday and apparently intended to win over Sunnis opposed to al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq.
In the audiotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden said insurgents should admit “mistakes” and that he even advises himself not to be extreme in his leadership.
The tape appeared to be in response to moves by some Sunni Arab tribes in Iraq that have joined U.S. troops in fighting al-Qaida members, as well as other Sunni insurgent groups that – while still attacking Americans – have formed coalitions opposed to al-Qaida.
U.S. counterterrorism authorities were studying the content and authenticity of the audiotape. However, officials often note that no one has yet faked a bin Laden recording.
Foreign expert aid in blasts rejected
The Pakistani government on Monday rejected the request of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto for foreign forensics experts to help with an independent investigation into the deadly suicide bombing at her homecoming rally last week.
Bhutto, whose return to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile was seen by some as the first step in gaining democracy and stability in the troubled nation, said at a news conference Monday evening that the government was protecting people if it did not agree to her request. Her party has insinuated that government forces could have been behind the twin blasts, which killed 136 people and injured hundreds.
On Monday, the head of Musharraf’s ruling party reacted to Bhutto’s insinuations by accusing her husband of being responsible for the suicide bombings. Bhutto denied the charge.
U.S. sailor kills 2 others on base
A U.S. Navy sailor shot and killed two female sailors early Monday in the barracks of an American military base in Bahrain, officials said.
The alleged shooter, a man, was critically wounded in the shooting at the U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain base, said a Navy official who was not authorized to release the information to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Navy said the shootings, which took place around 5 a.m. and forced the base to close for about an hour, were not terrorism related and only involved U.S. military personnel.
A State Department official in Washington said that while initial reports suggested the incident may have been the result of a “love triangle,” it now appeared to be a case of a jilted boyfriend shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend and then shooting himself.