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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 09:08 GMT
Bin Laden video condemned
Osama Bin Laden - image taken from al-Jazeera TV
Al-Jazeera said it received the video from Pakistan
Afghanistan's new government has strongly rejected Osama Bin Laden's latest video message.

Mohammed Habeel, a spokesman for the defence ministry, denied Bin Laden's claim that the US bombing of Afghanistan was an attack on Islam.

Three months after the blessed strikes against world atheism and its leader, America ... we must review the impact of these events

Osama Bin Laden

In the video, Bin Laden says the 11 September suicide attacks on New York and Washington which killed an estimated 3,000 people were intended to stop US support for Israel.

Bin Laden appeared tired, wearing a combat jacket with a Kalashnikov sub-machine gun propped beside him

The video was partially broadcast on Wednesday by the Qatar-based satellite television station al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera said it would show the whole 33-minute-long tape on Thursday evening.

Video clues

The US and Israel dismissed Bin Laden's comments as "terrorist propaganda". Britain accused Osama bin Laden of glorying in the attacks.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: "This is nothing more than the same kind of terrorist propaganda we have heard before".

US experts are thought to be studying the video for clues about when and where it was filmed.

The US-led hunt for Bin Laden has gone cold in the last two weeks, and there is continued confusion about where he now is or whether he has been killed in US bombing raids.

It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam

Osama Bin Laden

In the tape, Bin Laden refers to a US air strike on a mosque in the Afghan town of Khost as happening "a few days ago".

On November 16, the US military said a 500-pound laser-guided bomb missed its target in Khost and damaged a mosque.

The chief editor of al-Jazeera, Ibrahim Hilal, told the Associated Press news agency that his station received the tape "a couple of days ago" by an air courier service from Pakistan.

The sender was anonymous, he said.

US 'deserved attacks'

In the excerpt already broadcast, Bin Laden condemns the West for excessive bombing of Muslims in Afghanistan.

Pakistani troops looking for Bin Laden along the Afghan border
The search for Bin Laden continues

"The latest events have proved important truths," he says.

"It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam."

"Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people," he said.

The Pentagon - whose forces are searching for the Saudi-born dissident in the mountains of Afghanistan - said it did not know whether the video was real, or if it was new or old.

"Nothing that Bin Laden does surprises me," spokesman Richard McGraw said.

It is the first Bin Laden message to be broadcast by al-Jazeera since 3 November.

The BBC's Richard Miron
"It is unclear now where he might be"
Aryeh Mekel, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman
"This is terrorist propaganda"
Retired US Admiral, Eugene Carroll
"We will never know for certain what happened to Bin Laden"
Senior Egyptian politician, Mustafa El Feqi
"People in Islamic countries have begun to discover the damage done by Osama Bin Laden"
See also:

27 Dec 01 | Middle East
Transcript: Bin Laden video excerpts
18 Dec 01 | South Asia
Bin Laden's disappearing act
17 Dec 01 | South Asia
Bin Laden's hiding places
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
27 Dec 01 | South Asia
Kandahar "no go" for aid convoys
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