Al-Jazeera: Bin Laden tape praises hijackers
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- A tape purportedly of Osama bin Laden praises the al Qaeda hijackers for changing "the face of history" when they flew airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon last year.
"There aren't enough words to describe how great these men were and how great their deeds were," bin Laden said in an audiotape message played Monday by the Qatar-based, Arabic-language television news network Al-Jazeera.
It was not immediately clear when the tape was made, but it left no doubt that al Qaeda was behind the terror attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. In the past, al Qaeda has released tapes claiming responsibility for terror attacks, such as the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, months afterward.
"When you talk about the invasion of New York and Washington, you talk about the men who changed the face of history and went against the traitors," bin Laden said on the tape. "These great men have consolidated faith in the hearts of believers and undermined the plans of the crusaders and their agents in the region."
Al-Jazeera also showed al Qaeda video of the hijackers -- all wearing turbans and having full beards, in contrast to their clean-shaven looks on the day of the attacks -- reviewing flight manuals in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and it played a video message from one of the hijackers, who implored the United States to "take your fat hands off the land of Arabs."
"We will get you. We will humiliate you. We will never stop following you," said Abdulaziz Alomari, one of the hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
"God praise everybody who trained and helped me, namely the leader Sheikh Osama bin Laden. May God bless him. May God accept our deeds."
An image of the gutted Pentagon was superimposed behind Alomari's shoulder as he spoke -- an indication al Qaeda had made the video after the attacks.
Al-Jazeera did not specify how it obtained the tapes, saying only that it had received them Monday.
A longer version of the tapes is to be played Tuesday.
In the bin Laden audiotape, he specifically names the four hijackers who U.S. authorities have said were the pilots of the four hijacked flights. Of the mastermind hijacker Mohammed Atta, who flew the first plane into the World Trade Center, bin Laden said, "He carried the pains of the nation. May God accept him as a martyr."
He called Hani Hanjour, the terrorist who flew the plane into the Pentagon, "a great man."
The two other men whom bin Laden named were Marwan Al-Shehhi, the pilot of United Airlines Flight 175, which slammed into the south tower of the World Trade Center, and Ziad Jarrahi, the pilot of United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers apparently fought with the hijackers.
While bin Laden spoke, faces of the hijackers were superimposed on the screen.
U.S. authorities have said they are unsure whether bin Laden is dead or alive.
Sources have told CNN that bin Laden suffered a shrapnel wound in the U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan but is alive in the frontier region of Pakistan near the Afghan border.
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