Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Al-Jazeera Airs 'Previously Unshown' Bin Laden Tape

Al-Jazeeraaired on Thursday what it called previously unshown footage of Al Qaeda chief Usama bin Laden meeting with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

The Arabic TV station did not say how it obtained the video, which carried the logo of As-Sahab, Al Qaeda's media branch.

Included in the video were the last will and testaments of two of the hijackers, Wail al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi.

In one portion of the video, bin Laden is shown sitting among rocks in a mountain camp with his former lieutenant Mohammed Atef and Ramzi Binalshibh, another suspected planner of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Atef, also known as Abu Hafs al-Masri, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan in 2001. Binalshibh was captured four years ago in Pakistan and is currently in U.S. custody, and this week President Bush announced plans to put him on military trial.

Bin Laden — wearing a dark robe and white headgear — strolls through the camp, greeting dozens of followers, some masked, and many carrying automatic weapons.

Al-Jazeera said that among those he greets in the video are several of the 9/11 hijackers, but their faces were not clear and it was not immediately known which ones are shown.

The footage shows scenes of training at the camp. Masked militants perform martial arts kicks or learn how to break the hold of someone who grabs them from behind. Several militants are shown practicing hiding and pulling out fold-out knives.

It was the fourth in a series of long videos that Al Qaeda has put out to memorialize the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a private U.S. company that monitors militant message traffic and provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the American government.

The previous ones were issued in April and September 2002 and September 2003, each showing video from the planning of the suicide hijackings and farewell statements from some of the hijackers, Venzke told The Associated Press.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said they are not surprised to see Al Qaeda release a video like this just days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Officials said that while the video is five years old, it is part of Al Qaeda's ongoing propaganda campaign to make sure the organization stays in the world's spotlight

Intelligence officials said they do not see a correlation between the release of the video and any pending Al Qaeda attack. They point to the number of videos released this year from bin Laden's second-in-command, Ayman al Zawahiri.

Separately, Bush Administration officials concede that while the video spotlights the fact that bin Laden remains at large, it also shows that since the Sept. 11 attacks, Al Qaeda has not been able to gather with other operatives and carry out another attack inside the United States.

The Associated Press contributed to this report