Al Qaeda deputy speaks out on U.S. Iraq pullout bill
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a new Internet video, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command jeers at the Iraq war funding bill vetoed by President George W. Bush that called for a U.S. troop pullout in Iraq, ABC News said on Saturday.
"This bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap," al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri is quoted as saying on ABC's Web site, abcnews.go.com/.
"We ask Allah that they only get out of it after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson," Zawahri says.
ABC's site includes a photo of the bearded Zawahri in front of a bookshelf.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the report, which comes four days after Bush vetoed a $124 billion congressional war-spending measure that would have required a troop pullout from Iraq to begin by October 1.
Zawahri's last public comments were on March 11, when he lashed out at the leadership of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas over its Saudi-brokered deal with the U.S.-backed Palestinian faction Fatah.
Democratic leaders are in closed-door negotiations with White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and other senior aides to the Republican president to see if they can reach agreement on a second bill.
U.S. opposition to the Iraq war is strong among Democrats who believe their victory in November's congressional elections gave them a mandate to demand a change in Bush's Iraq policy.
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