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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
Bin Laden video 'threat' studied
Osama Bin Laden has not been found during the US-led military attacks on Afghanistan
The tape arrived in Britain on an encrypted CD-Rom
British security experts are to examine a video featuring Osama Bin Laden in which he reportedly threatens US allies such as Britain.

The film, passed to Birmingham's Islamic news agency, reportedly features 'new' footage of a camoflague-clad bin Laden discussing jihad - holy war - and martyrdom with several armed backers.

His supporters claim that a new video section, inserted into old footage, was made just eight weeks ago, according to The Sunday Times newspaper.

Osama Bin Laden
Al Jazeera has previously featured videos of Bin Laden
The news agency said the video was passed to one of its journalists by a Pakistani intelligence official.

The 40-minute tape arrived in Britain on an encrypted CD-Rom decoded by the agency last week, The Sunday Times also reports.

But the high profile Arab television channel Al Jazeera, which has broadcast statements and previous video footage depicting Bin Laden, dismissed the tape as older than reported.

In a statement company officials claim suggestions the video was taped in March are incorrect and that it had 'exclusive' footage of the tape before the end of last year.

Encrypted messages

The time of recording is significant because it may give an indication to officials of when Bin Laden - accused of masterminding the 11 September attacks on the US - was last seen alive.

His whereabouts remain a mystery to the allied forces hunting him and his al-Qaeda party members.

But security experts will still scour the tape's contents, not only for what is said, but for possible encrypted messages to Bin Laden supporters.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are always aware that there is a general threat against western interests.

"This video does not increase it but, of course, we shall continue to remain vigilant.

"We will obviously be examining it."

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Media reports
Text of 11 September hijacker's statement
16 Nov 01 | Americas
Recording reveals hijack struggle
08 Oct 01 | Media reports
Al-Jazeera goes it alone
01 Feb 02 | Middle East
Networks row over Bin Laden tape
28 Sep 01 | Americas
The hijack suspects
15 Apr 02 | Americas
Tape 'shows 11 September hijacker'
18 May 02 | South Asia
Al-Qaeda fighters seek Pakistani refuge
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