updated 5/18/2008 7:10:46 PM ET 2008-05-18T23:10:46

Osama bin Laden released a new message on Sunday accusing Arab leaders of sacrificing the Palestinians and calling 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-Qaida leaders have issued past 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.

Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City is one of the holiest sites for Muslims.

Israeli-Arab conflict a rallying point
Al-Qaida leaders are increasingly using the Israeli-Arab conflict in their media campaign to rally supporters. Israel has warned of growing al-Qaida 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 what he called his struggle against the Jewish state.

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 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.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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