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Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Warns U.S. of More 'Destruction' If It Attacks Iraq

A statement attributed to ousted Afghan leader Mullah Mohammed Omar says the United States will face more "hostility, chaos and destruction" if it attacks Iraq, an Arab television station reported Wednesday.

Al-Jazeera television said it was faxed the one-page statement. It provided no other details.

"America is using terrorism as a justification to launch war against Iraq ... and the U.S. will not gain anything but more hostility, chaos and destruction" with any attack, the Qatar-based satellite station quoted the fax as saying.

Mullah Omar, the leader of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime, has been in hiding since he fled the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar last December.

Wednesday's statement was not the first attributed to Mullah Omar to surface, though such statements are rarer than those attributed to Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.

Previously, al-Jazeera and a prominent Islamic Internet site — both known for obtaining material linked to Islamic militants — carried a statement allegedly from Mullah Omar in which he vowed to drive U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The statement was dated to coincide with the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

In May, Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, said it had an interview with Mullah Omar in which it delivered written questions to an intermediary in Pakistan and received audiotaped responses. Asharq al-Awsat quoted Mullah Omar then as saying bin Laden was alive and the future of the United States in Afghanistan was "fire, hell and total defeat."

A statement on Monday attributed to Al Qaeda and posted on an Islamic Web site claimed responsibility for two attacks last week on Israeli targets in Kenya. U.S. counterterrorism officials in Washington said they considered the claim credible.

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