(REUTERS) Osama bin Laden called on insurgent groups in Iraq to unify their ranks, in an audio recording aired by Al Jazeera television on Monday.
"The interest of the Islamic nation surpasses that of a group ... the interest of the (Islamic) nation is more important than that of a state," said the speaker who sounded like the leader of al Qaeda.
"The strength of faith is in the strength of the bond between Muslims and not that of a tribe, nationalism or an organisation."
"I advise ... our brothers, particularly those in al Qaeda wherever they may be, to avoid fanatically following a person or a group...," he said.
It was not clear from the part of the tape aired by Al Jazeera when the message was recorded.
The speaker also warned against attempts by the enemy to drive a wedge between different groups by planting agents in them.
Al Qaeda is a key group fighting U.S.-led forces in Iraq and the Baghdad government. Some other Sunni Muslim groups have joined forces with al Qaeda to set up what they called an Islamic State in Iraq, but other groups have rejected the move.