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Al-Qaeda 'marks 9/11 with video'

Ayman al-Zawahiri (archive image)
Zawahiri is thought to be in hiding on the Afghan-Pakistan border

The Islamic militant network al-Qaeda, which claimed the 9/11 attacks, has issued a video to mark their seventh anniversary, an Arabic TV channel says.

In the 90-minute tape obtained by Qatar's al-Jazeera TV, deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri denounces Iran and the "Crusader" threat to Islam.

Zawahiri is last known to have appeared in an al-Qaeda video in April.

Other al-Qaeda videos since the 9/11 attacks on America in 2001 featured the group's leader, Osama Bin Laden.

'Narrow escape'

The latest tape refers to last month's war over South Ossetia between Russia and Georgia as well as the resignation of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, suggesting it was made as recently as mid-August.

Zawahiri is shown accusing Iran of "co-operating with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan".

The deputy leader of al-Qaeda, which draws its support from Sunni Muslims, also condemns Shia Muslims for not calling for a holy war in Iraq against Western forces there.

Last week, it was reported that Pakistani troops had narrowly missed a chance to capture Zawahiri.

A location in Mohmand tribal region on the Afghan border was attacked after his wife was seen there but soldiers failed to find the couple.

Zawahiri, an eye surgeon who helped found the Egyptian Islamic Jihad militant group, is often referred to as Bin Laden's right-hand man and the chief ideologue of al-Qaeda.

He is also believed by some experts to have been the "operational brains" behind the 9/11 attacks and continues to have a $25m bounty on his head.

The whereabouts and fate of Bin Laden himself remain a mystery.


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