Israel on Sunday said it was taking the threats of Osama bin Laden seriously, a day after the al-Qaida leader vowed to expand his terror group's holy war to Israel.
Most of the 56-minute audiotape tape released Saturday dealt with Iraq, but bin Laden also offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, said al-Qaida operatives have been inching closer to Israel in recent years, and Israel is aware of the danger.
"Israel takes bin Laden's threats seriously. We have seen al-Qaida activity to the north of Israel, in Lebanon, to the east of Israel, in Jordan, and to the south of Israel, in Sinai," he said. "There is also evidence of al-Qaida activities in the Palestinian territories. As a result, we will be irresponsible not to take this rhetoric seriously."