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Bin Laden Said to Offer Gold for Killings

May 6, 2004

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A statement attributed to Osama bin Laden offered rewards in gold Thursday for the killing of top U.S. and U.N. officials in Iraq.

The transcript of an audio recording dated Thursday appeared on a Web site known for militant Islamic messages. The Web site gave links to hear the statement, but none were working. The authenticity of the statement could not immediately be verified.

``You know that America promised big rewards for those who kill mujahedeen (holy warriors),″ the transcript read. ``We in al-Qaida organization will guarantee, God willing, 10,000 grams of gold to whoever kills the occupier Bremer, or the American chief commander or his deputy in Iraq.″

He was referring to L. Paul Bremer, the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, and top military officials. The statement also promised the same reward for the deaths of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi.

``For security reasons, the rewards will be given as soon as conditions permit, God willing,″ the transcript read. ``As for those who die while killing an occupying solider, the great prize will be for us and for him when God grants him martyrdom, and the smaller prize (the gold) will be for his family.″

The transcript also denounced U.S. plans to hand sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30, calling them a trick to end the resistance that has killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers. He urged Iraqis to fight a holy war against their U.S.-appointed Governing Council.

The statement used language similar to previous bin Laden statements, laden with Quranic verse.

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