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Friday, 18 January, 2002, 00:52 GMT
US alert over 'al-Qaeda' videos
Al-Qaeda suspectes Khalid Ibn Muhammad al-Juhani and Abd al-Rahim
Khalid Ibn Muhammad al-Juhani and Abd al-Rahim
Five men shown on videotapes found in the house of an al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan were preparing to carry out terrorist acts, US officials say.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft said the videos showed "young men delivering what appear to be martyrdom messages from suicide terrorists."

The men may be trained and prepared to commit future suicide terrorist acts

US Attorney General John Ashcroft

The Americans have issued a worldwide alert and urged the public to help identify, locate and incapacitate the men.

Four of the suspected al-Qaeda operatives have been tentatively identified as: Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan, Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani and Ramzi Binalshibh.

The identity of a fifth individual is unknown.

Al-Qaeda suspect Ramzi Binalshibh
Ramzi Binalshibh is alleged to have had connections with the ringleader of the hijackers
"These men could be anywhere in the world," Mr Ashcroft said.

He said the tapes were recovered from the rubble of a house in Afghanistan which belonged to Mohammad Atef, believed to have been Osama Bin Laden's military chief.

American officials say he was killed by a US air strike in November.

Unidentified al-Qaeda suspect
The US authorities have been unable to identify this man
Excerpts from the tapes show three of the men separately, two of them apparently making statements and one holding an automatic rifle.

Mr Ashcroft said little was know about the five suspects except for Ramzi Binalshibh, from Yemen.

The US authorities allege that he was a close associate of Mohammed Atta, the man believed to have been the ring-leader of the 19 hijackers who carried out the suicide attacks on 11 September.

Al-Qaeda suspect Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan
Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan
In the indictment handed down in December against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man yet charged in connection to the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington, Mr Binalshibh was named alongside the other hijackers as an unindicted co-conspirator.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said the tapes came from a "trove of valuable information" discovered in Afghanistan.

He said they were still being analysed to determine when they were made, adding that there was no evidence any of the suspects had entered the United States, although at least one had tried.

The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The new information came through a source of extra-ordinary luck"
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"It is very difficult for the Americans to discover where they are"
The BBC's Nick Bryant
"The US believe these men are readying themselves for suicide missions"
See also:

17 Jan 02 | England
UK al-Qaeda suspects remanded
12 Dec 01 | Americas
US lays first 11 September charges
16 Nov 01 | Americas
Recording reveals hijack struggle
02 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: Al-Qaeda to struggle on
18 Jan 02 | Americas
Shoe bomb suspect due in court
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