Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden praises martyrdom as a weapon
and a path to glory for Muslims in a video that CNN said on
Saturday was intercepted before it was to appear on radical
CNN, which noted it could not verify the authenticity of the
40-minute video and had translated it from Arabic into English,
said on its website there was no indication of where or when the
footage had been shot.
The news network said the video contained old clips but
concluded it had been compiled in the last four weeks.
The environment in which bin Laden is shown speaking is similar
to that on releases made before the September 11 suicide attacks on
the United States by Al-Qaida militants in 2001.
Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs, said bin
Laden appears in only a 50-second portion of the video in which he
asserts the Prophet Mohammed had wanted to be a martyr.
"What is this status that the best of mankind wished for
himself?" CNN said bin Laden asked rhetorically. "He wished to be a
martyr. He himself said: 'By Him in whose hands my life is? I would
love to attack and be martyred.'"
"This glorious prophet who was inspired by God summarized this
entire life by these words. He wished upon himself this status.
Happy is one who was chosen by God as a martyr," bin Laden said,
according to the CNN translation of his remarks.
Mustafa abu al-Yazid, named as Al-Qaida's new commander in
Afghanistan in May, also appears in the video praising fighters
ready to die for the cause of jihad, or holy war.
The video is a compilation of documentary footage and testimony by
fellow militants praising fallen Islamists from areas ranging from
north Africa to Tajikistan in central Asia. Some of the militants
are seen reading their final testaments.
CNN did not say how the footage had been intercepted. But a
segment of the video, produced by Al-Qaida's media arm al-Sahab,
was seen on the lauramansfield.com website which provides Arabic
translations and terrorism analysis.
Bin Laden was wearing army fatigues and appeared to be
For the past several weeks, radical Islamist websites have
proclaimed there will be "good news soon from Sheikh Osama bin
Laden," CNN reported.
The US Senate voted on Friday to double the bounty on bin Laden
to US$50 million and require President George W. Bush to refocus on
capturing the Saudi-born militant after reports that Al-Qaida is
Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Bush said he wanted bin
Laden caught dead or alive. But a year before the US invasion of
Iraq in 2003, Bush shifted his emphasis, saying he did not know bin
Laden's whereabouts and "I truly am not that concerned about
Top US intelligence officials told the House of Representatives
Armed Services Committee last week that residents of remote
northwestern Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding,
have proven to be impervious to the financial rewards already
offered by the US government.
(China Daily via agencies July 16, 2007)