Friday, September 08, 2006

Video claims to show Bin Laden with 9/11 plotters

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Video claims to show Bin Laden with 9/11 plotters

· Al-Jazeera screens footage of masked men in training
· Testament in 'will' speaks of reprisal against west

"The Royal Institute of International Affairs issued a report yesterday arguing that although al-Qaida remained a powerful group its support was waning. The US-led response to the 2001 attacks had enhanced its reputation among radical Muslims but "seriously undermined" its ability to recruit, organise or raise funds, the report, titled Al-Qaida, Five Years On, said. It also argued that the group's attacks in Saudi Arabia and Jordan had killed Muslims and had therefore alienated many in the Islamic world.

The report said al-Qaida was being eclipsed in some parts of the Arab world by non-violent Islamic groups. It had also been outshone in the eyes of Arab militants by the recent military exploits of the Lebanese Shia group Hizbullah.

Yesterday, al-Jazeera also broadcast the first video statement by Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, leader of subsidiary group al-Qaida in Iraq. Muhajer, who took over the leadership of the group after the death in June of its founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The video was produced by as-Sahab, al-Qaida's media arm, and appeared to have been issued to mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. It included the video "wills" of two of the 19 hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, in which they justified their actions as reprisals against supposed ill-treatment of Muslims by the west."

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