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Bin Laden calls Sept. 11 attacks 'blessed terror'

Bin Laden appears on Al-Jazeera TV in a taped statement.  

DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- In a five-minute excerpt of a new videotaped statement broadcast Wednesday, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called the September 11 attacks against the United States "blessed terror" and accused the West of hating Islam.

"Three months after our blessed attack against the main infidel West, especially America, and two months after the infidel's attacks on Islam, we would like to talk about some of the implications of those incidents," bin Laden said.

"These events have revealed many important issues to Muslims. It's very clear that the West in general, and America in particular, have an unspeakable hatred for Islam."

The videotape, broadcast on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network, showed bin Laden dressed in his now-familiar fatigues and seated in front of a brown curtain with an automatic rifle propped next to him.

Al-Jazeera's managing director, Mohammed Jassim al-Ali, said the 34-minute tape was mailed to the network from somewhere in Pakistan and would be aired in its entirety at 1835 GMT (1:35 p.m. ET) Thursday.

In an excerpt of a videotaped statement obtained by Al-Jazeera television, Osama bin laden accuses the U.S. of hating Islam. CNN's David Ensor reports (December 27)

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With the release of the new videotape, everyone seems to have a theory about what's happened to Osama bin Laden. CNN's Wolf Blitzer reports (December 27)

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Network executives told CNN they do not know where or when the videotape was recorded, despite bin Laden's reference in the tape to it being made three months after September 11.

One clue might be this comment by bin Laden: "A few days ago, the Americans started bombing the al Qaeda base in Khost, and a stray bomb landed on a mosque while some elders were praying."

The U.S. military reported a mosque was damaged during a bombing run in Khost November 16.

Bin Laden went on to say a man named Jalal Haqani was among those praying in the mosque when it was hit.

"He was one of the brightest and biggest fighters against the Soviets, and he refused the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan," bin Laden said. "And in that attack, 156 were killed. And Mr. Jalal Haqani was safe, may God bless him."

In a press release last month, the U.S. Central Command said "two of the bombs struck a known al Qaeda facility. The third bomb suffered a guidance malfunction and missed the facility. The resulting explosion damaged a mosque. At this time, we do not know the extent of the damage. We are unaware of any injuries as a result of the errant bomb."

In the tape, bin Laden chastised the United States for bombing civilian areas of Afghanistan, leaving homeless "millions ... of men, women and children" during the cold winter months.

"They had no guilt other than a suspicion that led the United States to launch this campaign," bin Laden said. "Those who claim to be humane and free, we have seen here their real crimes."

He accused the United States of leading its own campaign of terror against Muslims.

"We say our terror against America is blessed terror in order to put an end to suppression, in order for the United States to stop its support to Israel," bin Laden said.

The White House called the tape a diatribe. "This is nothing more than the same kind of terrorist propaganda that we've heard before," said Scott McClellan, deputy White House press secretary.

Spokesmen for the Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command said they could not comment on the tape because officials have not yet seen it in its entirety.

The whereabouts of bin Laden remain a mystery.

President Bush said last week bin Laden "may have tried to slither out into neighboring Pakistan," but Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said he is "reasonably sure" bin Laden is not in his country.

The leader of the global terrorist network has been heard from only in videotaped messages.

The last previous release from bin Laden, broadcast over Al-Jazeera, came November 3.

On December 13, the U.S. released a videotape it said was found in a private Afghan home. The tape showed bin Laden smiling and laughing as he recounted hearing about the September 11 attacks that killed more than 3,000 people.




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