New Bin Laden Audio Marks 9/11 Anniversary

Osama bin Laden is shown in an image taken from a banner featured on an Islamic militant Web site on Sept. 10, 2007.
Osama bin Laden is shown in an image taken from a banner featured on an Islamic militant Web site on Sept. 10, 2007.

CAIRO, EGYPT (CBS/AP) -- Osama bin Laden urged sympathizers to join the "caravan" of martyrs as he praised one of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers in a new video that emerged Tuesday 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 Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This year's video showed hijacker Waleed al-Shehri addressing the camera, and warning the U.S.: "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, came 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.

Later in the day it appeared on militant Web sites, with a note from al Qaeda's media production wing al-Sahab saying it was intentionally sent to television stations before being placed on the Internet.

It begins with an audiotape introduction by bin Laden. While his voice is heard, the video shows a still image of him, raising his finger. 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.

But it was not known if the audiotape was recently made. In the past, al Qaeda has used footage and audio of bin Laden taped long ago for release later.

Neil Doyle, a U.K.-based terrorism analyst who authored a book on the use of the Internet by Muslim extremists, told Monday the newly released bin Laden message "may have been recorded at the same time as the last video," referring to the bin Laden tape released last Friday.

CBS News' own jihadi Web site analyst, whose name is withheld for security reasons, also noted similarities in the tone of bin Laden's message from the video released Tuesday and the video that came out on Friday.

"There have been lots of celebrations around this particular anniversary (of the Sept. 11 attacks). More than we've seen in the past," said Doyle.

In the tape, bin Laden praised al-Shehri, saying he "recognized the truth" that Arab rulers were "vassals" of the West and had "abandoned the balance of (Islamic) revelation."

"It is true that this young man was little in years, but the faith in his heart was big," he said.

"So there is a huge difference between the path of the kings, presidents and hypocritical Ulama (Islamic scholars) and the path of these noble young men," like al-Shehri, bin Laden said. "The formers' lot is to spoil and enjoy themselves whereas the latters' lot is to destroy themselves for Allah's Word to be Supreme."

"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.

Officials say on this 9/11 anniversary, they see no credible evidence of an imminent attack on America, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. But they do see a committed enemy, one that's gaining strength and growing more dangerous.

Orr reports U.S. officials are more interested in the videotape that surfaced Friday than the audio of bin Laden.

Counterterrorism analysts so far have found no hidden messages in the recording - no apparent signals pointing to a new attack. But the tape confirms the al Qaeda leader is alive and still in control of a terror network that's now rebuilt its command structure and training camps, reports Orr.

After the audio of bin Laden, the videotape of the Sept. 11 hijacker, al-Shehri appears. Al-Shehri was one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the World Trade Center.

"We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left," al-Shehri said in the tape, asserting that America would suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union.

In the tape, al-Shehri also praised the losses the United States suffered in Somalia in the late 1990s.

"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."

Last year, al-Sahab released a 55-minute video with the last testimonies of hijackers Wail al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi. The video included old but previously unreleased footage showing bin Laden strolling through an Afghan training camp where the attacks were apparently planned and chatting with top al Qaeda lieutenants.

The tape was accompanied by another with an address by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

Waleed al-Shehri was one of the hijackers on American Airlines flight 11 that hit the World Trade Center. He and Wail al-Shehri were brothers from Saudi Arabia. Wael was 25 and Waleed was 21 at the time of the attacks.

Suicide attacks for al Qaeda and other militant groups often videotape last testaments before carrying out their attacks. Every Sept. 11 anniversary, al-Qaida has used the tapes in a bid to rally its supporters by glorifying its "martyrs."

Bin Laden's new appearances underline the failure to find the terror leader that President Bush vowed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to take "dead or alive."

On Sunday, Mr. Bush's homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend sought to play down bin Laden's importance - and added a taunt, saying he was "virtually impotent."

Terrorism experts say al Qaeda's core leadership is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The latest National Intelligence Estimate says the network is growing in strength, intensifying its efforts to put operatives in the United States and plot new attacks.

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The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.