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Bin Laden alive claim is from old video
A claim in an al-Qaida video that is at
least two months old saying Osama bin Laden was alive and fighting
was today broadcast as new by al-Jazeera.
The statement from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second-in-command in the Bin Laden circle, that the al-Qaida leader was alive was the first such claim from the group for more than a year.
It had appeared to refute the rumours that the exiled Saudi was one of the 79,000 people who died in the October earthquake centred on Pakistan.
The station - whose news anchor trailed the footage as the "latest al-Zawahri video" - told the AFP news agency that the footage had been broadcast by mistake.
"We got the videotape in September, and back then we aired what we thought were the important parts," al-Jazeera's editor-in-chief, Ahmed Sheikh, told AFP.
The full version of the tape included sections on the July 7 London bombings and the Afghan elections that al-Jazeera had previously broadcast on September 19.
Zawahiri's interviewer, who was off camera but audible, said the film was intended to mark the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"Thanks be to God, [al-Qaida's] prince, Sheik Osama bin Laden, is still, God protect him, leading the holy war," Zawahiri said in the newly aired footage.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian, wears a white robe and black turban and speaks from an undisclosed location in the video. The former eye surgeon, who merged his militant group with al-Qaida's in the late 1990s when the two were in Afghanistan, is regarded as the chief ideologue of the jihadist movement.
He calls on Iraqi insurgent factions to unite in order to achieve "victory" in Iraq when the US departs and encouraged attacks on oil production. "I call on mojahedin to concentrate their attacks on Muslims' stolen oil, most of the revenues of which go to the enemies of Islam while most of what they leave is seized by the thieves who rule our countries," he says in the video.
Zawahiri also describes the British Queen as a legitimate target for terrorist attacks. In a section of the video earlier disclosed by security services he said she was "one of the severest threats to Islam" and warned Muslim leaders in Britain not to "work for the pleasure of Elizabeth, the head of the Church of England".
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