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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
'Jackal' book praises Bin Laden
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka Carlos the Jackal
Sanchez is serving a life sentence
One of the world's best-known terrorists of the 1970s and 1980s has written a book lauding the man suspected of masterminding the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.

Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Illich Ramirez Sanchez, praises Osama Bin Laden's "shining" example in a selection of writings from his prison cell in France which went on sale on Thursday.

A convert to Islam since his imprisonment for three murders, Sanchez preaches "revolutionary Islam" - which is the title of his book - as the new, post-Communist answer to what he calls US "totalitarianism".

The book, excerpts of which have been published by Le Monde newspaper, has also raised questions over how it could have seen the light of day as the French prison system is supposed to strictly control all correspondence between inmates and the outside world.

Its contents were compiled and edited by a French journalist, Jean-Michel Vernochet, on the basis of letters, interviews and texts by the Jackal, according to Le Monde.

Mr Vernochet told the French news agency AFP that he had never actually met Sanchez but had received the materials from the publishing house releasing the book.

New religion

The book is a "defence and illustration of terrorism," Mr Vernochet said.

In the words of Sanchez himself: "From now on terrorism is going to be more or less a daily part of the landscape of your rotting democracies."

North Tower, World Trade Center, burns on 11 September 2001
The 11 September attacks killed nearly 3,000 people
Sanchez, 55, and serving a life sentence since 1997 for killing two Paris police officers and their informant in 1975, appears to have either rejected his past Communist revolutionary beliefs in favour of Islamic militancy or merged them.

He suggests that the 11 September attacks - a "lofty feat of arms" - were part of an "armed struggle" to liberate the holy places of Islam and win justice for the Palestinians.

Revolutionary Islam, he argues, "attacks the ruling classes in order to achieve a more equitable redistribution of wealth" and Islam is the only "transnational force capable of standing up the enslavement of nations".

The Venezuelan-born killer also talks about his religious conversion which began under an Iranian mullah, he says. In 2001 he married his own lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, with an Islamic rite.

The new book does not refer to Sanchez's own crimes but he says that he completed his "memoirs" in 1992 whilst in Jordan, to be published after his death.

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