CAIRO, Egypt -- As the United States hunts Osama bin Laden, he appeared on a videotape apparently made in recent weeks in which he once again comes close to claiming responsibility for the Sept. 11 terror attacks as well as for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
"Our terrorism is against America. Our terrorism is a blessed terrorism to prevent the unjust person from committing injustice and to stop American support for Israel, which kills our sons," a pale, gaunt bin Laden said in brief excerpts of the Arabic-language tape, shown repeatedly on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel Thursday.
Al-Jazeera first broadcast excerpts Wednesday night. The station said it would show the entire 33-minute tape Thursday.
A newsreader for Al-Jazeera said, "Bin Laden pointed out in the tape that his speech was made 90 days after the September 11 attacks, which means that he was still alive two weeks ago."
It was not clear where the tape, which the United States dismissed as "propaganda," was made.
U.S. forces have been searching caves in the mountainous Tora Bora area of eastern Afghanistan, where bin Laden's al-Qaida fighters made their last stand. But for weeks, U.S. officials say, they have had no indication of where bin Laden might be -- in Tora Bora, elsewhere in Afghanistan, fleeing across Pakistan or even dead.
Afghanistan's new prime minister, Hamid Karzai, said Wednesday he had no idea where bin Laden was. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said in China recently he was "reasonably sure" bin Laden had been killed at Tora Bora.
In a tape that the Pentagon says was found in Afghanistan and dated Nov. 9, a relaxed, unscripted bin Laden is shown telling a visitor details of the Sept. 11 attacks and indicating he was involved in their planning. U.S. officials who said that tape was a virtual confession released it Dec. 13 and it was shown around the world. Many Arab viewers, where bin Laden has struck a chord with his denunciations of the United States for its support of Israel and its alleged enmity toward Islam, questioned whether the poorly made tape was a hoax.
Abdul-Ridha Asiri, a political science teacher at Kuwait University, told The Associated Press the new tape offered further confirmation bin Laden was "not only responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, but also the attack in Kenya." Asiri said it looked like bin Laden was "delivering his last message."
The new Al-Jazeera tape, one of several the station has broadcast, showed bin Laden dressed in a green camouflage military jacket and spoke in front of a brown backdrop with a submachine gun propped beside him.
In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the tape as "nothing more than the same kind of terrorist propaganda we've heard before." He said he did not know whether government analysts had determined when the tape was made, or whether it indicates bin Laden is injured.
Bin Laden said he was speaking "three months after the blessed attack against the international infidels and their leaders, the United States, and two months after the beginning of the vicious aggression against Islam," apparent references to the Sept. 11 attacks and to the Oct. 7 start of U.S. retaliatory bombing of Afghanistan.
"It is quite clear now that the West, generally speaking, and in particular America, has an indescribable hatred of Islam," bin Laden said. "The people who have lived the last months under the continual American air strikes, they know that very well. Many villages were wiped out for no crime and many millions were displaced in this cold weather."
He also likened the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan to terrorism.
"In Nairobi, when the boys -- may God take them as martyrs -- used a 2,000-kilo (4,400-pound) bomb, the U.S. said this was terrorism, that this was a weapon of mass destruction. And now the U.S. is using two bombs, each weighing 7,000 kilos (15,500 pounds). No one is questioning this."
The United States has indicted bin Laden in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and the nearly simultaneous attack on the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Tanzania. Bin Laden's familiar reference to "the boys" who carried out the bombings echoed previous comments from him about the attacks, which killed 231 people.
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