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Bin Laden Deputy Warns of Attack On Anniversary of Terrorist Strikes

By Mark Mazzetti
THE NEW YORK TIMES


WASHINGTON

Osama bin Laden’s top deputy used the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on Monday to urge fellow Muslims around the world to take up arms against the United States, and warned of new attacks by al-Qaida throughout the Middle East.

Dressed in a white robe and turban and seated in front of shelves filled with books, the deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were “doomed to defeat” and pledged that the U.S. military would be expelled entirely from its bases in the Persian Gulf region.

Zawahiri criticized America’s military support for Israel during the country’s recent war with Hezbollah, and he called on the Muslim world “to rush with everything at its disposal to the aid of its Muslim brothers in Lebanon and Gaza,” according to a full transcript of the video provided by the SITE institute, which tracks violent Islamist groups.

Zawahiri said that al-Qaida would strike again in coming weeks, but he gave no indication of the type of targets or specific locations.

“The days are pregnant and giving birth to new events with Allah’s permission and guidance,” Zawahiri said in the video, during which he is asked a series of questions by an anonymous interviewer.

Running more than an hour, the Zawahiri video, broadcast on CNN and the Internet, was unusually long compared with previous videos released by As-Sahab, al-Qaida’s clandestine media production arm based in Pakistan.

Terrorism experts in Washington were examining the tape on Monday to find any coded messages that Zawahiri might be sending to his followers. American government officials did not appear to be concerned that the tape might signal an impending attack.

“It’s one tape of what they said was going to be a media blitz. We take it as propaganda,” said an American intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules imposed by his agency. “We take all these tapes seriously, but over the years they have been propaganda and not substance.”