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Bin Laden's 9/11 plot taped, aired

CNN
Sep 08, 2006 at 03:02pm IST

For the first time, a video has been released showing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden meeting with suspected terrorist Ramzi Binalshibh, purportedly as they prepare for the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to Al-Jazeera, which aired the tape Thursday.

Binalshibh is a Yemeni who allegedly admitted a role in planning the attacks. He was among 14 al Qaeda operatives that President Bush on Wednesday said had been transferred to the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The 14 men were transferred from CIA custody so they can face military hearings if Congress approves the tribunals, the president said.

It is alleged that Binalshibh intended to be one of the September 11 hijackers but was unable to get a visa to enter the United States despite several attempts.

In one of the segments of the tape, bin Laden tells his compatriots that the news from "the brothers who went out for martyrdom operations ... is delightful."

"And I strongly advise you to increase your prayers for them and beseech Allah the Exalted in your prayer to grant them success, make firm their foothold and strengthen their hearts," the al Qaeda leaders says.

The video aired four days before the fifth anniversary of the attacks that killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

CNN was unable to independently verify whether the video, made by al Qaeda's production company, Al Sahab, was made in 2001.

But two of the men seen on it - Hamza Alghamdi and Wail Alshehri - were hijackers who died in the suicide missions.

Alghamdi was aboard United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center; Alshehri was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the North Tower.

Al Qaeda military commander Mohammed Atef, also known as Abu Hafs al-Masri, also is on the tape. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2001 in a US missile strike.

Many of the faces in the video are pixelated to hide the men's identities.

The men are seen in training or in scenes from their daily lives.

"If struggle and jihad is not mandatory now, then when is it mandatory? The destination from which Prophet Mohammed was sent to Heaven is being transgressed every night and day," says one militant, Wael al Shehry, according to Al-Jazeera.

"When is it time to help Muslims who are under fire in Chechnya? And what about Kashmir and the Philippines? Blood continues to flow. When will it be?" he asks.

Yasser abu Hilala, an Al-Jazeera bureau chief who did the voice-over for the report, said the video is more than an hour long and uses archive footage from Western television networks.

After the video was released, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino reiterated the administration's commitment to bringing to justice those connected to the September 11 terror attacks.

"As the president has said as recently as yesterday, one by one we will bring the 9/11 plotters to justice for their vicious acts, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh who is now in DOD (Department of Defense) custody," she said.

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