U.S. asks help in finding men on terror tape
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Justice Department released photographs and videotapes of five suspected "suicide terrorists" Thursday and called on the public around the world to help find the men. The government suspects all five are members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said the material was recovered from the rubble of the Afghanistan home of Mohammad Atef, named as a top aide to bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks. Atef was killed by an airstrike in November, according to U.S. officials.
"The videotapes depict young men delivering what appear to be martyrdom messages from suicide terrorists," Ashcroft said.
"Analysis of the audio portion of these tapes conducted thus far suggests, based on statements made on the tapes, that the men may be trained and prepared to commit future suicide terrorist acts."
Ashcroft said the United States had no idea where the men might be or even whether they were still alive.
"Investigators note that these men could be anywhere in the world," he said.
Four of the new suspects were identified by name: Abd Al-Rahim, Muhammad Sa'id Ali Hasan, Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani and Ramzi Binalshibh.
Little was known about the men, Ashcroft said, except for Binalshibh. He was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the government's indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged so far in direct connection to the September 11 attacks.
Binalshibh was named by U.S. and German authorities as a member of the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, and he is wanted by Germany on mass murder charges in connection with the September attacks.
FBI Director Robert Mueller described the videotapes taken from Atef's home as part of "a trove of valuable information being recovered in Afghanistan."
Ashcroft played excerpts of three of the videotapes. The government did not release the sound, saying it was still being analyzed. In the tapes, all of the men were dark haired and bearded.
One tape excerpt featured the man identified as Ali-Hasan talking with his eyes cast downward.
The second tape showed Al-Rahim talking into the camera and gesturing with his left hand.
The last video excerpt showed Al Juhani. At one point while seated, he takes a wrap off his head and leans his head into his lap. Another section showed him holding what appeared to be a rifle.
Mueller said there was no evidence that any of the men had entered the United States, although Binalshibh had tried but could not get a visa.
Ashcroft said the tapes did not appear to contain any information about specific terrorist plans or targets.
"This is another opportunity for the public around the world to join the campaign against terrorism," he said, urging anyone with information on the identities or locations of the men to call the FBI, pass the information onto the agency's Web site at www.ifccfbi.gov., or contact a U.S. embassy or consulate.
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