CAIRO (AP) — Osama bin Laden urged sympathizers to join the “caravan” of martyrs as he praised one of the September 11 suicide hijackers in a new video that emerged yesterday to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Al Qaeda traditionally issues a video every year on the anniversary, with the last testament of one of the 19 hijackers involved in the 2001 attacks. This year’s video showed hijacker Waleed M. Alshehri addressing the camera and warning the United States: “We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left.”
The new message, which AP Television News obtained from the IntelCenter monitoring group in suburban Washington, was delivered days after the world got its first current look at bin Laden in nearly three years, with the release of a video Saturday in which the terror leader addressed the American people.
The video begins with an audiotape introduction by bin Laden. While his voice is heard, the video shows a still image of him, with his finger raised. In the image, bin Laden has the same dyed-black beard and the same clothes — a white robe and cap and beige cloak — that he had in Saturday’s video.
In the tape, bin Laden praised Alshehri, saying he “recognized the truth” that Arab rulers were “vassals” of the West and had “abandoned the balance of [Islamic] revelation.”
“It remains for us to do our part. So I tell every young man among the youth of Islam: It is your duty to join the caravan [of martyrs] until the sufficiency is complete and the march to aid the High and Omnipotent continues,” he said.
At the end of his speech, bin Laden also mentions the al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. air strike there in June last year. Zarqawi followed in the footsteps of Alshehri and his brothers who “fulfilled their promises to God.”
“And now it is our turn,” bin Laden said.
After bin Laden spoke, the video of Alshehri appeared. Alshehri — one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the World Trade Center’s north tower — is seen wearing a white robe and head scarf, with a full black beard, speaking in front of a backdrop with images of the burning World Trade Center.
“We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left,” Alshehri said, asserting that America would suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union.
He also praised the losses the United States suffered in Somalia in late 1993.
“As for our own fortune, it is not in this world,” he said. “And we are not competing with you for this world, because it does not equal in Allah’s eyes the wing of a mosquito.”