CAIRO, Egypt – The Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera said that terrorist leader Usama bin Laden is heard identifying and praising four Sept. 11 terrorists in excerpts of a videotape the station aired Monday.
"As we talk about the conquests of Washington and New York we talk about those men who changed the course of history," says a male voice, purported to be bin Laden's, in Arabic.
There was no way to verify whether the voice on the recording belonged to bin Laden or when the videotape was made. The Al Qaeda leader was not seen in the footage broadcast across the Arab world on Monday.
Bin Laden, whose whereabouts are unknown, has not been heard from since shortly after the U.S. began its bombing campaign in Afghanistan last October.
In the excerpts, he identified four of the Sept. 11 terrorists -- Mohamed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, and Hani Hanjour -- as ringleaders and prayed for their souls.
The 19 hijackers were described as "great men who deepened the roots of faith in the hearts of the faithful and reaffirmed allegiance to God and torpedoed the schemes of the crusaders and their stooges, the rulers of the region."
The White House initially played down the significance of the tapes. Calling the footage aired on Al-Jazeera "heavily hyped," the White House said it will review the broadcast, and a senior official added, "No one needs another tape to know that Al Qaeda attacked on Sept. 11 and killed 3,000 people."
Al-Jazeera, which has aired several Al Qaeda videotapes since last year's attacks, said it would air the latest video in its entirety on Thursday. According to the station, the tape was made in the eastern Afghan town of Kandahar but it was not clear whether that meant that the scenes were filmed there or the narration was added there.
The tape also included old footage of several young men identified as some of the hijackers during training last year in Afghanistan. They appeared to be looking at maps, including one of the Washington, D.C., area, and manuals of cockpit gadgetry.
At least one computer and several books in English could be seen sitting on desks and a hand was shown pointing at the site of the Pentagon on one map.
Another excerpt showed a man identified as hijacker Abdulaziz Alomari leaving what appeared to be a farewell message.
"God may reward all those who trained me on this path and who were behind this noble act and a special mention should be made of ... Sheik Usama bin Laden, may God protect him" Alomari and Atta were aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the World Trade Center.
In April, Al-Jazeera aired a tape that included a farewell message from hijacker Ahmed Alhaznawi, who was on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pa.
Al-Jazeera said over the weekend that one of its correspondents had interviewed two top Al Qaeda fugitives wanted in the terrorist attack. According to the interview, reportedly conducted in June with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, the U.S. Congress was the fourth American landmark on Al Qaeda's Sept. 11 hit list and the terror group also considered striking U.S. nuclear facilities.
U.S. counterterrorism officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said many of Mohammed's statements about the origins of the Sept. 11 plot are plausible, but they have no information that would verify those claims.
The interview is scheduled to air on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.