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Archive for Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bin Laden to appear in 2nd new video

September 11, 2007

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— Osama bin Laden will appear for the second time in a week in a new video to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, presenting the last will and testament of one of the suicide hijackers, al-Qaida announced Monday.

Each year, al-Qaida has released videos of last statements by hijackers on the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, using the occasion to rally its sympathizers.

But this year's releases underline how bin Laden is re-emerging to tout his leadership - whether symbolic or effective - of the jihad movement. While past anniversary videos featured old footage of bin Laden, the latest appears likely to include a newly made speech.

Bin Laden had not appeared for nearly three years until a new video was released over the weekend. In that video, he addressed the American people, telling them the war in Iraq is a failure and taking on a new anti-globalization rhetoric. He urged Americans to abandon capitalism and democracy and embrace Islam.

Al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, announced the impending second video Monday with an advertising banner posted on an Islamic militant Web forum where the group often posts its messages.

The video was likely to be released within 24 hours to coincide with Sept. 11, said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a U.S. group that monitors and analyzes militant messages.

"Coming soon, God willing, from the testaments of the martyrs of the New York and Washington attacks: The testament of the martyr Abu Musab Waleed al-Shehri, presented by Sheik Osama bin Laden, God preserve him," the banner read.

Al-Shehri was one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center's north tower.

In Washington, meanwhile, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement chiefs and a Cabinet member on Monday contradicted President Bush's counterterrorism adviser by saying that bin Laden remained the most dangerous terrorist threat to the United States six years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Eliminating the threat that the al-Qaida leader and his inner circle pose from their sanctuary in Pakistan's remote tribal region bordering Afghanistan "is our number one priority," Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell told a Senate committee.

The assessments by McConnell, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FBI Director Robert Mueller came a day after White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend called bin Laden "a man on the run from a cave who is virtually impotent other than these tapes."

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