Al-Qa'ida Central's (AQC) AL-Sahab Media Foundation has released the short audio message from its leader, Usama bin Laden (Osama bin Ladin), that was aired on Al-Jazeera Arabic satellite TV yesterday. The AQC leader says that the release of French nationals held hostage by AQC's North African affiliate, Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), depends on French withdrawal from Afghanistan and changes in French policies toward Muslims around the world. AQIM's branch in the northwest Sahel (Mali, Niger, Mauritania) has carried out a number of high-profile kidnappings of Europeans over the past two years and has reportedly been successful in extorting substantial ransoms for some of them. Several hostages have been killed, either by AQIM or during rescue attempts.
Bin Laden last released an audio tape aimed at the French in late October 2010.
The audio message can be downloaded via these NON-militant URLs:
The password to unpack the file is: IKh52FRTgubnSXR