Bin Laden Tape Is Real, French Say

A tape of a man claiming to be Osama Bin Laden threatening France appears to be authentic, the French Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Bin Laden warned France to get its troops out of Afghanistan and not to oppress Muslims at home in a tape broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network Wednesday.

""If you want to tyrannize and think that it is your right to ban the free women from wearing the burqa, isn't it our right to expel your occupying forces, your men from our lands by striking them by the neck?"" the speaker demands, in reference to recently passed French legislation barring women from covering their faces in public.

""This message only confirms the reality of the terrorist threat against which the French authorities have taken and continue to take appropriate measures,"" the ministry said in a statement Thursday.

""French authorities are fully mobilized to secure the release of seven hostages kidnapped in Niger on September 16. These statements by Bin Laden will not affect our assessment of the situation of our hostages and obviously will, therefore, not erode our efforts to secure their release. France will continue to fight against terrorism alongside its partners,"" the ministry said.

Five French nationals were kidnapped last month along with a person from Togo and one from Madagascar. A photograph of them was posted September 30 on a website linked to al Qaeda.

French authorities are treating the Bin Laden message ""very, very seriously,"" CNN counterterror analyst Paul Cruickshank said.

An opposition lawmaker Wednesday urged ""contempt towards these terrorists."