CAIRO, Egypt – Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden lashed out at Arab leaders for "sacrificing" the Palestinians in a new message released Sunday and he called on Muslim militants in Egypt to help break the blockade of Gaza.
Bin Laden called Arab leaders "agents of the crusaders" and "wolves" in the audio message posted on an Islamic militant Web site where al Qaeda leaders issue their statements. He portrayed the citizens of Arab nations as herds of sheep who have been handed over to the wolves to look after them.
"Every day, the herd wishes the wolves would stop preying on it," he said.
"Those (Arab) kings and leaders sacrificed Palestine and Al-Aqsa to keep their crowns. ... But we will not be relieved of this responsibility," bin Laden said, referring to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, one of Islam's holiest sites.
Al Qaeda leaders are increasingly using the Israeli-Arab conflict in their media campaign to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al Qaeda activity in Palestinian territories, although the terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.
The new audiotape comes just two days after bin Laden's last audio message was released, marking the 60th anniversary of Israel's foundation. He vowed to continue his struggle against the Jewish state.
Both Israel and Egypt have closed their borders with Gaza since the Islamic militant group Hamas violently seized control of the Palestinian territory in June of last year.
The closure has deepened economic hardship in the already impoverished strip where 1.4 million Palestinians live.
"Each one of us is responsible for the death of our vulnerable people in Gaza where scores have died because of the blockade," bin Laden said.
He urged Muslim militants in Egypt to try to end the closure.
"They are the only ones close to its borders and they must work on breaking this blockade," he said.