CAIRO, Egypt – Osama bin Laden urged sympathizers to join the “caravan” of martyrs as he praised one of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers in a new video that emerged Tuesday to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Al-Qaida traditionally issues a video every year on the anniversary, with the last testament of one of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. This year’s video showed hijacker Waleed al-Shehri addressing the camera and warning the U.S.: “We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left.”
The new message, which AP Television News obtained from the IntelCenter monitoring group in suburban Washington, came days after the world got its first recent look at bin Laden in nearly three years, with the release of a video Saturday in which the terrorist leader addressed Americans.
The new video begins with an audiotape introduction by bin Laden. While his voice is heard, the video shows a still image of him raising his finger. In the image, bin Laden has the same dyed-black beard and the same clothes – a white robe and cap and beige cloak – that he had in Saturday’s video.
But it was not known whether the audiotape was recently made. In the past, al-Qaida has used footage and audio of bin Laden taped long ago for release later.
In the tape, bin Laden praised al-Shehri, saying he “recognized the truth” that Arab rulers were “vassals” of the West and had “abandoned the balance of (Islamic) revelation.”
“It is true that this young man was little in years, but the faith in his heart was big,” he said.
At the end of his speech, bin Laden also mentions the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike there. Al-Zarqawi followed in the footsteps of al-Shehri and his brothers who “fulfilled their promises to God,” he said.
“And now it is our turn,” bin Laden said.