Germany has dismissed U-S claims that a threatening new audio tape believed to be of Osama bin Laden points to links between his al-Qaida terrorist network and Iraq.
German security and intelligence experts are analyzing the tape, but a spokesman for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says it cannot be concluded that the alleged link exists. Germany's government is opposed to an attack against Iraq at this time.
The United States says the tape shows a connection between Baghdad and al-Qaida. The Iraqi government has repeatedly denied such ties.
The recording, broadcast Tuesday by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Arab satellite television, urges Muslims to support Iraq in the event of a war and calls for suicide attacks against the United States. The voice on the tape urges Iraqis to dig trenches and engage in urban warfare to battle U-S troops, if attacked.
U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell says the tape, which U-S officials say appears genuine, reveals what he calls a "partnership" between the terrorist leader and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Mr. Powell said the tape also proves that the "nexus" between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction "can no longer be ignored."
U-S State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told Al-Jazeera television shortly after the tape aired that it shows al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein "seem to have common cause together."
The voice on the tape does not express support for the Iraqi president. It says all Muslims should support the Iraqi people and not the Iraqi government. It also warns Arab leaders against giving any support to the United States in launching an attack on Iraq.