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Alleged al-Qaida tape denies chemical plot

Al-Qaida operative Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi is seen in this undated photo.
Al-Qaida operative Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi is seen in this undated photo.Petra via AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

A purported message from the al-Qaida operative Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi said Friday his group did not plan a chemical weapons attack as the Jordanian authorities have alleged.

"The (allegation) that there was a chemical bomb to kill thousands of people is a mere lie," the reported voice of al-Zarqawi says on a tape broadcast via an Islamic site on the Internet.

"God knows, if we did possess (a chemical bomb), we wouldn't hesitate one second to use it to hit Israeli cities such as Eilat and Tel Aviv," the voice said.

Jordanian state television has broadcast confessions of a group of plotters allegedly linked to al-Zarqawi who said they were plotting al-Qaida's first chemical bomb attack, which would have been directed against Jordan's secret service building in Amman.

The broadcast commentator said the suspects had prepared enough explosives to kill 80,000 people.

But al-Zarqawi said his group did plan to attack the Jordanian intelligence building, calling it "the source of all evils in our home."

The voice could not be immediately authenticated as that of al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian wanted by the United States for allegedly organizing terrorists to fight U.S. troops in Iraq on behalf of al-Qaida.

U.S. officials have offered a $10 million reward for al-Zarqawi's capture.

"Yes, there was a plot to demolish the Jordanian General Intelligence building," the voice said. "Jordan has turned itself into a hidden base of supplies for the occupying army in Iraq."

The tape also says the General Intelligence building in Amman is the "Arabs' Guantanamo detention camp," referring to the prison for terror suspects at the U.S. Naval base on Cuba.

The building is a "big data base used by the enemy of Islam to track down holy warriors," the tape added.