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Bin Laden Says Obama Planted 'Hatred Seeds'

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (right) speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Riyadh on June 3.
DUBAI (Reuters) -- Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said U.S. President Barack Obama had planted the seeds of "revenge and hatred" towards the United States in the Muslim world and warned Americans to prepare for the consequences.

Bin Laden's remarks, aired on June 3 by Al-Jazeera television, came a day after comments by his deputy who described Obama as a criminal and warned Muslims not to fall for his polished words.

Their statements marked a concerted Al-Qaeda propaganda drive to preempt a major speech to the Muslim world that Obama is due to deliver in Egypt on June 4.

"Obama and his administration have planted seeds for hatred and revenge against America," the Saudi-born bin Laden said in the audio recording.

Bin Laden said Obama was treading in the footsteps of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"Let the American people prepare to continue to reap what has been planted by the heads of the White House in the coming years and decades," bin Laden said.

Obama's policies in Pakistan had raised "animosity" among Muslims, he said.

In a separate development on June 3, Al-Qaeda's North African wing said it had carried out its threat to kill a British hostage it was holding in the Sahara.

Algerian security expert Hamid Ghomrassa said the network was telling Obama he "must understand that Al-Qaeda is a force in the region that cannot be ignored".

Bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, said in an audio recording posted on an Islamist website on June 2 that Muslims had already received Obama's "bloody messages," which were preempting the U.S. president's charm offensive.

Obama has chosen Egypt to make a promised address to the Islamic world, in which he will try to dispel resentment inflamed by U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan following Al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. He arrived in Saudi Arabia on June 3 on the first leg of his trip.

"They [Obama's messages] will not be concealed by public relations campaigns or theatrical visits or polished words," Zawahri said.

The success of Obama's diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, such as promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and halting Iran's nuclear program, may hinge on how well he is able to improve broader U.S. relations with the Islamic world.