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Bin Laden 9/11 planning video aired

Last Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2006 | 10:25 PM ET

Just days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, a videotape of previously unaired footage of Osama bin Laden and two of the hijackers surfaced Thursday.

The videotape, believed to have been shot in Afghanistan in the weeks before the attack, was shown on the Arab television channel Al-Jazeera.

Osama bin Laden speaks in 1998 at a meeting at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden speaks in 1998 at a meeting at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.
(Associated Press)
It includes scenes of men handling weapons and box cutters, and training to overpower others physically.

In one scene, bin Laden addresses the camera, calling on followers to support the hijackers.

"I ask you to pray for them and to ask God to make them successful, aim their shots well, set their feet strong and strengthen their hearts," bin Laden said.

While the images aren't new, it's the first time bin Laden has been seen with two men identified as being among the 19 who carried out the attacks.

They are Wael al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi. Both helped provide the muscle on their respective planes — al-Shihri on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and al-Ghamdi on United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the South Tower.

They are shown videotaping their living wills.

"Don't be afraid, he says, if you're going to glory," al-Shehri says.

Bin Laden is also seen conferring with men identified as former lieutenant Mohammed Atef and Ramzi Binalshibh.

Atef, once dubbed al-Qaeda's No. 3, was killed in a bombing raid in Afghanistan just two months after 9/11.

Binalshibh at Guantanamo

Binalshibh was among five suspected al-Qaeda members handed over to the U.S. by Pakistani officials in early 2002.

It has been alleged that Binalshibh was to be part of the attacks, rounding out to 20 the number of hijackers on the four aircraft.

He attempted to enter the U.S., but the State Department rejected him because he couldn't adequately specify why he wanted to be in the country, or adequately assure officials that he would leave when the visa expired.

In addition to its timing near the anniversary, the tape's arrival comes one day after U.S. President George W. Bush admitted that terrorist suspects have been held in secret CIA prisons, with Binalshibh said to be in custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, along with other Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah.

While it is believed that bin Laden has delivered audio messages in recent months, he has not yet appeared in any video footage after 2004.

The channel also broadcast Thursday a videotape allegedly of Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who is said to have taken over leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike in June.

The tape urges Muslims to unify with the insurgents in Iraq and promises that "the war has just begun."

With files from the Associated Press

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