Al Qaeda marked the fifth anniversary of September 11 by posting video footage of Osama bin Laden exhorting the attackers to be patient in their preparations and to steel themselves for “martyrdom.”
The 92-minute tape appeared on the eve of the anniversary of attacks, as President Bush visited the site of the World Trade Center twin towers, demolished in 2001 by the impact of two passenger airliners.
One of the men who flew the second aircraft into the World Trade Center, Hamza al-Ghamdi, appeared in a taped will, declaring: “O, Allah water the tree of jihad (holy war) with our blood. O, Allah accept us as martyrs.
“I say to America if it wants its armies and people to be safe then, it must withdraw all its forces from Muslim land … or else it should prepare coffins and big graves,” added Ghamdi, who posed next to a miniature aircraft.
In the edited footage, the picture of the blazing twin towers and the Pentagon building hit on the same day were used as a background.
In the tape, parts of which had been aired by Al Jazeera television on Thursday, bin Laden told the leaders of attacks that would kill almost 3,000 people:
“Talk yourselves into martyrdom operations, encourage yourselves a lot. At the beginning you will not be used to the idea and you will think it is a difficult thing.”
The documentary-style tape by al Qaeda’s media arm, al Sahab, showed the attackers in martial arts training and talking with bin Laden in what appeared to be a meeting to plan for the 2001 attacks that triggered the United States’ “war on terror.”
“Some people think that the issue is only training, someone might say ‘I already know this’ … but there are other purposes. The elements must get to know one another because this jihad (holy war) does not rest on one person,” said bin Laden.
He was dressed in Afghan robes and head dress, as well as what appeared to be a combat vest. The only background was a white wall.
“Members of the squadron must know one another, in order to build confidence among them, and (also so that) the instructor acquaints himself (with them) and write reports — which at the end reach me — that this (or that) brother is patient and shows endurance and was well mannered.”
VICTORY COMES CLOSER
He told the militants they should follow the example of the Qaeda members who blew up the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salam in 1998, in which 224 people were killed.
“Your brothers in Nairobi spent nine months in an apartment, while their brothers smuggled TNT to them. Can you be that patient?”
In part of the footage, at least five years old, al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri also appeared with a group of militants wearing combat gear, possibly the attackers.
It was not clear from the tape where the footage was filmed but the environment suggested it could have been a desert country like Afghanistan, where the group had training camps.
The narrator of the tape repeatedly highlighted Qaeda’s argument that its attacks were in reaction to oppression of Palestinians and other Arabs.
Both World Trade Center towers were turned into rubble by the impact of airliners, the Pentagon was hit by a third aircraft and a fourth crashed into a field. The attackers were mostly Saudi Arabians.
“As the number of young men carry out martyrdom operations increases, victory becomes closer,” bin Laden said.
Copyright © 2006 Reuters