Palestinians Celebrate; Taliban Denies Bin Laden Connection

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:10 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - In Afghanistan, the ruling Taliban party said that Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, wanted in connection for the twin bombings of two U.S. Embassies in Africa, was not responsible for the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on Tuesday. Elsewhere, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in celebration.

"It could have been the work of governments, but neither Osama bin Laden nor us are capable of this," a Taliban spokesman was quoted as saying.

Wahil Ahmed Mutawahel, interviewed live on CNN, said the Taliban criticized these attacks.

An Arab journalist with connections to Bin Laden said that the Saudi dissident had warned three weeks ago that he and his followers would carry out an unprecedented attack on U.S. interests because of Washington's support for Israel, according to a radio report.

Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, said Islamic fundamentalists led by Bin Laden, were likely behind the attacks in the U.S.

In another potentially significant development, a bin Laden associated convicted in connection with the U.S. embassy bombings was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Lower Manhattan. Palestinians Deny Connection, Celebrate Nevertheless

Most radical Palestinian groups denied any connection with Tuesday's terror attack in the U.S.

An official of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad blamed "American policy in the hottest region of the world" for the attacks. But said his organization was against the "killing of innocent people." It has nevertheless, carried out terror attacks in the past.

The Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denied involvement in the attacks, despite a call by an PFLP leader several weeks ago to "strike American interests."

He later retracted his statements, saying he was referring to an economic boycott of American goods.

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it "opposed to any act of violence outside the occupied Palestinian territories."

Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat condemned the attacks, calling them "unbelievable."
Another Palestinian activist, Mustafa Barghouti said the Palestinians were "overwhelmed by this appalling attack," which he said was a violation of human rights.

But elsewhere, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets celebrating the attacks on the U.S. In Nablus, motorists honked their car horns and passed out sweets. And shouted their support for Bin Laden calling on him to bomb Tel Aviv.

In refugees camps in Lebanon, Palestinians fired assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades into the air, according to reports from the area.