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Al Qaeda urges Muslims to step up attacks against the West - releases video with 9/11 hijackers meeting Bin Laden

September 11, 2006

Al Qaeda video warns of new attacks

Al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri has appeared in a new video urging Muslims to step up their attacks as the United States marks the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 strikes.

CNN, which has aired a short extract from the lengthy video, says it is available on Islamist websites, but it is not found on the mainstream sites often used by militant groups.

Al Jazeera television has also aired what appears to be an excerpt from the same video, showing Zawahri dressed in white and sitting in front of a bookcase.

CNN has quoted Zawahri as saying that "new events" are on the way.

He warns that Israel and Gulf Arab states would be the network's next target.

Zawahri says the West should not "bother yourselves with defending your forces in Iraq and Afghanistan".

"You have to bolster your defences in two areas ... the first is the Gulf, from which you will be evicted, God willing ... and the next is Israel"

Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, has also urged Muslims to intensify their resistance to the US.

"Your leaders are hiding from you the true extent of the disaster," he said in the video.

"The days are pregnant and giving birth to new events, with God's permission and guidance."

Al Jazeera says Zawahri holds the US-allied governments of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia responsible for the killing of Muslims in the Middle East.

"Israel has been able to dominate Lebanon and Gaza only because Egypt has been totally removed from the conflict with Israel," Zawahri said.

The video appears to be part of Al Qaeda's own marking of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, which killed almost 3,000 people.

Ceremonies to mark the attacks are being held in Washington and New York.

Bin Laden video

Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary, the Al Qaeda's media arm al-Sahab released a 92-minute video entitled The Manhattan Raids.

The collage of video footage shows bin Laden urging the attackers to prepare themselves for martyrdom, along with the wills of some of the attackers and clips showing the men training in an unidentified location.

One of the men who flew the second aircraft into the World Trade Centre, Hamza al-Ghamdi, appears in a taped will, posing next to a miniature aircraft.

"O, Allah water the tree of jihad [holy war] with our blood," he said.

"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."

In the edited footage, the picture of the blazing twin towers and the Pentagon building hit on the same day are used as a background.

In the tape, parts of which had been aired by Al Jazeera television on Thursday, bin Laden addressed the leaders of the September 11, 2001 attacks before their mission.

"Talk yourselves into martyrdom operations, encourage yourselves a lot," he said.

"At the beginning you will not be used to the idea and you will think it is a difficult thing."

The documentary-style tape shows the attackers in martial arts training and talking with bin Laden in what appeared to be a meeting to plan for the attacks.

- Reuters

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