Showing apparent signs of concern over events in Iraq, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden urged insurgents to "unite your lines into one" in an audiotape played on al Jazeera Monday."Don't be arrogant," bin Laden warned. "Your enemies are trying to break up the jihadi groups. I urge you all to work in one united group."
People familiar with bin Laden's voice say the tape appeared to be authentic, although there was no reference to any event that would indicate when it was recorded.
Bin Laden's message comes at a time when U.S. strategy to split Iraqi insurgent groups from al Qaeda units appears to be working.
"It's always good news when they are divided," said Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism adviser, now an ABC News consultant. "It's reflective that U.S. tactics are having some success."
Saying he was speaking to "everyone in the Muslim community," bin Laden urged "scholars and leaders of the jihad" to take on the role of uniting the groups "right now."
U.S. intelligence officials said they were studying the tape, the third this year from the terror fugitive who is believed to be hiding along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
This post has been updated.