From AP REPORTS
NEW YORK (AP) – Terror leader Osama bin Laden will release a new Internet message that focuses on Iraq and an al-Qaida linked insurgent group, a terrorism monitoring group said Thursday.
The SITE intelligence group said the al-Qaida leader will discuss Iraq and the group the Islamic State of Iraq, a longtime foe of the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.
SITE, which provides counter-terrorism information to government and private groups, said the announcement of the impending message was posted to Islamic militant Web sites earlier in the day.
The posting said the message — titled ‘The way to contain conspiracies” — would last 56 minutes. It did not say when it would be released, but such ads usually precede the actual message by one to three days.
The authenticity of the posting couldn’t immediately be determined. But SITE said it was signed by As-Sahab, the production branch that releases al-Qaida messages. The Internet message didn’t say if bin Laden’s statement would be in a video or just audio form.
The message will mark the sixth public statement by the terror leader this year. Audio or video communiques were sent over the Internet on Sept. 7, Sept. 11, Sept. 20, Oct. 22 and Nov. 29. A video on Sept. 7 was his first in three years and was issued to mark the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Al-Qaida has dramatically stepped up its messages — a pace seen as a sign of its increasing technical sophistication and the relative security felt by its leadership.
The terror group has also been campaigning to reach a broader audience, announcing that its No. 2 figure, Ayman al-Zawahri, would respond to journalists’ questions sent over the Internet. The deadline for the queries was Jan. 16.