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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
'Bin Laden's voice' on al-Qaeda video
Still from video broadcast on al-Jazeera
The hijackers are described as "great men"
A videotape in which a voice said to be that of Osama Bin Laden is heard talking about the 11 September hijackers has been broadcast on the Arabic satellite television channel al-Jazeera.


Those men who changed the course of history and cleansed the chapters of the nation from the filth of the treasonous rulers and their followers

The narrator's description of the hijackers

The whereabouts of Bin Laden, accused of masterminding the suicide plane attacks on New York and Washington last September in which 3,000 people died, are unknown.

Some have claimed he died in US air strikes on the mountainous Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan, others say he has fled into hiding in Pakistan.

The BBC's Jim Muir says the video adds up to the most comprehensive, illustrated admission by al-Qaeda that it and its leader were indeed the perpetrators of the attack which they glorify so vividly.

Timed to coincide with the anniversary, it is clearly meant to send the message that they're still in business, our correspondent says.

The identity of the speaker in the video - who does not appear on camera - cannot be independently confirmed, and it is unclear when the tape was recorded.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden: Dead or alive?
Correspondents say they think it sounds very similar to previous tapes of the al-Qaeda terror network leader.

"When you talk about the New York and Washington raids, you talk about those men who changed the course of history and cleansed the chapters of the nation from the filth of the treasonous rulers and their followers," the voice says in Arabic as the tape shows head shots of the 19 hijackers.

The hijackers were "great men [who] entrenched faith in the hearts of the believers, demonstrated loyalty [to God] and dissociation [from infidels] and torpedoed decades of scheming by the crusaders and their agent rulers in the region," it adds.

The speaker then names four men - Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Hani Hanjour and Ziad Jarrah - as the leaders of the 11 September attacks, prays for their souls and praises them.

'Training'

The tape also shows four young men said to have been among the hijackers. Reportedly shot in Afghanistan a few months before the attacks, it shows them looking at detailed maps including one of the Washington area.

Still from video showing man identified as hijacker Abdulaziz Al-Omari
Al-Omari is the second alleged hijacker to appear in a "farewell video"
Al-Jazeera identified the four as Wail Alshehri, Hamza Alghamdi, Saeed Alghamdi, and Ahmed Alnami.

A farewell message of a man it identified as hijacker Abdulaziz Al-Omari - said by the FBI to have been on the first plane to fly into New York's World Trade Center - is also included in the tape.

"This is a message to all the infidels and to America. The message says: 'Leave the Arabian Peninsula defeated and stop supporting the coward Jews in Palestine'," he says, reading from a piece of paper.

"May God reward all those who trained me to tread this path and contributed to this great action. I would like to particularly mention mujahid leader Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, may God preserve him from the plots of the plotters, the envy of the envious ones and the rancour of the rancorous ones."

Al-Jazeera said the tape was shot in the southern Afghan town of Kandahar, but did not say how it was obtained.

Al-Qaeda leaders interviewed

The channel has broadcast previous statements by Bin Laden.

It said over the weekend that one of its correspondents had interviewed two leading al-Qaeda fugitives in June.

They reportedly told al-Jazeera that al-Qaeda initially planned to fly hijacked jets into nuclear installations - rather than the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The US Congress was the fourth American landmark on al-Qaeda's 11 September hit list, the correspondent added.

This interview will also be broadcast in full on Thursday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Shukman
"The footage apparently shows four of the hijackers"

New York despatches

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See also:

10 Sep 02 | Middle East
08 Sep 02 | Middle East
10 Oct 01 | Middle East
04 Oct 01 | Americas
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