Media: The Associated Press
Byline: By LEE KEATH
Date: 11 September 2006
CAIRO, Egypt_Al-Qaida's No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri denounced U.N. peacekeepers
in Lebanon as "hostile to Islam" and warned in a new videotape aired Monday
that Israel and Persian Gulf countries would be al-Qaida's next targets.
The video was one of a flurry of messages the terror group put out to mark
the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.
Al-Zawahri condemned U.N. peacekeeping force now deploying in Lebanon under
terms set out in a U.N. cease-fire resolution.
"What is so terrible in this resolution ... is that it approves the
existence of the Jewish state and isolates our mujahedeen in Palestine from
Muslims in Lebanon," he said in excerpts of the video aired on Al-Jazeera
"This is consecrated by the presence of international troops who are hostile
to Islam," he said. "Anyone who accepts this resolution means that he
accepts all these catastrophes.
Addressing the West, al-Zawahri said, "You should not waste your time in
reinforcing your troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because they are doomed to
defeat and are already all but defeated."
Instead, you have to reinforce your troops in two regions. First is the
Gulf, where you will be thrown out after you are defeated in Iraq, at which
point your economic ruin will be achieved," he said. "The second is Israel,
because the jihad reinforcements are getting closer to it."
In other portions of the tape aired by CNN earlier Monday, al-Zawahri urged
Muslims to intensify their resistance against the U.S. and warned in general
terms of new terror strikes.
It was unclear where the two television stations got the portions of the
video they aired. The video was not posted on any of the militant Web sites
searched by The Associated Press that normally carry messages and videos
from al-Zawahri and other al-Qaida figures.
As-Sahab, the terror network's media arm, posted notices late Sunday that
the video would be posted shortly but it was not yet available Monday.
On the Web sites, As-Sahab posted two other videos to mark the anniversary
of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. One documentary-style
video showed footage of a smiling Osama bin Laden visiting commanders at a
mountain camp in Afghanistan where the suicide hijacking was being planned.
The other video praised the 19 hijackers.
In the footage aired on Al-Jazeera and CNN, the bespectacled Al-Zawahri was
dressed in white and seated in front of a wall of bookshelves as he is
interviewed by an unseen person. The full video is an hour and 16 minutes,
the stations said.
"We have repeatedly warned you and offered a truce with you," al-Zawahri
said, addressing Americans. "Now we have all the legal and rational
justification to continue to fight you until your power is destroyed or you
give in and surrender."
"Your leaders are hiding from you the true extent of the disaster," he said.
"And the days are pregnant and giving birth to new events, with Allah's
permission and guidance."
The video appeared to be new. In it, al-Zawahri refers to Israel's
bombardment of Lebanon this summer and the capture of Israeli soldiers by
Hezbollah and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Egyptian-born Al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, criticized the West for
supplying Israel with weapons,and called on the Muslim world "to rush with
everything at its disposal to the aid of its Muslim brothers in Lebanon and
He sharply criticized Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, accusing them of
siding with Israel in the fighting in Lebanon.
Egypt has willingly "abandoned its commitment to aid any Arab country
against an Israeli aggression," he said. "The collusion of Egypt, Saudi
Arabia and Jordan is very clear."
The series of videos released over a 24-hour period highlighted the strength
of al-Qaida's propaganda campaign _ though its capability to order attacks
around the world is unclear.
The documentary-style video released late Sunday, titled "Knowledge is For
Acting Upon: The Manhattan Raid" _ was unusually long and sophisticated in
its production quality compared to previous al-Qaida videos.
It showed bin Laden meeting colleagues in the mountain camp, as an
unidentified narrator says, "Planning for Sept. 11 did not take place behind
computer monitors or radar screens, nor inside military command and control
Instead, it "was surrounded with divine protection in an atmosphere brimming
with brotherliness ... and love for sacrificing life," said the narrator.
The video, which had English subtitles, also showed video clips of U.S. Vice
President Dick Cheney defending his old job at the oil company Halliburton,
and U.S. President George W. Bush at his inauguration. Other scenes show
training at the camp, with masked militants doing martial arts kicks and
practicing hiding and pulling out fold-out knives.
It included the last testament of two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Wail
al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi, and showed bin Laden strolling in the camp,
greeting followers. Al-Shehri was on American Airlines Flight 11, which was
the first to hit the World Trade Center. Al-Ghamdi was on United Airlines
Flight 175, which hit the second tower.
"Among the devout group which responded to the order of Allah and order of
his messenger were the heroes of Sept. 11, who wrote with the ink of their
blood the greatest pages of modern history," the narrator said, referring to
the hijackers who flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
In the footage, Bin Laden wore a dark robe and white headdress, and was
shown sitting alongside his former lieutenant Mohammed Atef and Ramzi
Binalshibh, another suspected planner of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Atef, also known as Abu Hafs al-Masri, was killed by a U.S. airstrike on
Afghanistan in 2001. Binalshibh was captured four years ago in Pakistan and
is currently in U.S. custody, and last week Bush announced plans to put him
on military trial.
The video showed events up to 10 years before the Sept. 11 attacks _ U.S.
troops in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War and bin Laden preaching to
followers after the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Sudan. It
also showed events afterward including a man in an orange jumpsuit at the
U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
It was unclear when the tape was made, or how soon before the Sept. 11
attacks the footage of bin Laden was recorded.