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Al-Qaeda Says Bin Laden is Well


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Qaeda Says Bin Laden Is Well, and It Was Behind Tunis Blast


spokesman for Al Qaeda claimed in an audio recording broadcast late yesterday from Qatar that the organization carried out the bloody April attack on a synagogue in Tunis and that the world would hear from Osama bin Laden soon.

The spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gheith, also dismissed reports that Mr. bin Laden and his main lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had been killed or wounded during the American-led assault on the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan.

The Arabic tape was broadcast on Al Jazeera, the cable news channel in the Persian Gulf that has received similar messages in the past. The network last broadcast a videotape more than two months ago.

The station said tonight that it had received the recording from a Kuwaiti journalist who told them that he downloaded it from two different Internet sites. A preliminary check of the sites failed to locate the recording, but Al Jazeera said the voice on the tape matched that of previous recordings by Mr. Abu Gheith, a Kuwaiti believed to be with Mr. bin Laden.

"I would like to assure the Muslims that Sheik Osama bin Laden is in good health and all the rumors about Sheik Osama's illness and being wounded in Tora Bora are devoid of any truth," Mr. Abu Gheith said, adding that the same was true of Dr. Zawahiri, the Egyptian surgeon who is Mr. bin Laden's deputy.

"I can confirm that 98 percent of the leadership of the Qaeda organization are safe, thanks God, and they are running all the matters in the best way," he said, adding that Qaeda supporters would shortly have an encounter with Mr. bin Laden.

"He will appear on TV screens very soon," Mr. Abu Gheith said.

In introducing the tape, Al Jazeera said it was new because on it the spokesman made references to the debate in the United States about whether the attacks on Sept. 11 could have been anticipated by its intelligence services. That portion was not broadcast.

The spokesman once again attempted to link an Al Qaeda operation to what is happening in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, a favorite method of trying to garner support in the Arab and wider Muslim worlds. He said Al Qaeda was behind the explosion of a fuel tanker outside a synagogue on the scenic island of Djerba that killed 17 people, 12 of them German tourists.

Suspect in Bomb Plot Is Arrested

MONTREAL, June 22 — The Canadian police have arrested an Algerian immigrant who is wanted in the Netherlands on suspicion of being part of a plot to bomb the United States Embassy in Paris last fall.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they arrested the suspect, Adel Tobbichi, 34, here on Friday. Mr. Tobbichi is suspected of helping to plan the embassy plot and of forging passports for others involved.

The Netherlands asked Canada to extradite Mr. Tobbichi. The Dutch indictment is likely to be made public on Tuesday.

Belgium has already arrested six other suspects in the bombing plot.

The Canadians are also investigating Dutch suspicions that Mr. Tobbichi's group had links to Al Qaeda.

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