Cairo, Egypt Osama bin Laden, the No. 1 suspect in the terror attacks for which America retaliated with a missile assault on Afghanistan Sunday, praised God for the Sept. 11 strikes that toppled New York's World Trade Center.
"America was hit by God in one of its softest spots. America is full of fear from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that," bin Laden said into microphone in a video shown Sunday on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite station.
Bin Laden was shown dressed in fatigues and an Afghan headdress, sitting in a stone cave and flanked by two aides. It was not clear when the video was made, but it was made during the daytime and referred to Sept. 11 attacks, but not to Sunday's nighttime retaliation by the United States and Britain.
Although he praises the attacks, he did not claim responsibility.
It was the first time bin Laden has spoken himself about the Sept. 11 attacks, though he has issued denials of responsibility through intermediaries.
The video opened with an aide, the spokesman for bin Laden's al-Qaida group, reading an opening statement.
"What happened in the United States is a natural reaction to the ignorant policy of the United States," said the statement read by Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.
"If it continues with this policy, the sons of Islam will not stop their struggle. The American people have to know that what is happening to them now is the result of their support of this policy," the statement said.
"The war against Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden is a war on Islam."
The Qatar-based independent TV network has been frequently airing exclusive footage of bin Laden, prompting the United States to raise concerns about Al-Jazeera's coverage during a meeting with the emir of Qatar in Washington on Wednesday.