Man identified as Sept. 11 hijacker shown in video delivering apparent farewell message

Monday, April 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A man identified as a Sept. 11 hijacker in a video excerpt broadcast Monday delivered what appeared to be a farewell message, saying ``it's time to kill Americans in their heartland.''

The tape also includes clips showing Osama bin Laden and his top deputy.

It wasn't clear when the tape, broadcast on the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera, was made. But the appearance of an apparent hijacker in one segment indicates that at least some parts of the video were filmed before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the material on the tape appears to be outdated.

``It comments on things post-Sept. 11 but the (bin Laden) pieces appeared to be from last year as opposed to this year,'' Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon briefing, qualifying his remarks as ``very preliminary.''

``I was advised that what I was watching very likely was using a patchwork of clips from previous periods along with some dialogue of more recent periods,'' Rumsfeld said.

Al-Jazeera's editor in chief, Ibrahim Hilal, said the hourlong video, complete with narration and graphics, was delivered by hand to the station's Qatar offices a week ago.

``I can't tell you about when the material was made exactly, but it seems very recent,'' Hilal said, noting the narrator at one point refers to the March 27-28 Arab League summit as coming up shortly. Al-Jazeera, which has aired previous bin Laden statements, said it would broadcast the entire tape Thursday during a monthly documentary program called ``Under the Microscope.''

On Monday, the station previewed several segments including one in which bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, kneel side-by-side. Only al-Zawahri is shown speaking; he calls the terrorist attacks on America a ``great victory.''

Al-Jazeera also aired a segment of a man, identified on the video as a Sept. 11 hijacker, speaking to the camera in a style similar to videotapes made by Palestinian suicide bombers before attacks.

An Al-Jazeera subtitle identified the man only as Alghamdi, the surname used by three of the Sept. 11 hijackers. But Hilal said the man in the video was Ahmed Ibrahim A. Alhaznawi, a hijacker who was also a member of the Alghamdi clan in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. officials say Alhaznawi was one of four attackers on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

``Those 19 brothers who went out and worked and sacrificed their lives for God, God granted this conquest that we enjoy today,'' Zawahri said in another segment on the tape.

``The great victory that was achieved was because of God's help and not because of our efficiency or power,'' Zawahri said.

The man identified as the suicide attacker said: ``The time of humiliation and subjugation is over. It's time to kill Americans in their heartland.''

He bragged of killing Americans outside their homeland, an apparent reference to earlier attacks on U.S. targets overseas blamed on bin Laden's network, and added, ``but today, we are killing them in the midst of their homes.''

He wore military fatigues over a black shirt and a black-and-white checked Arab headdress wrapped around his head. He sat before an image of towers surrounded in flames that could have been added to the background after the personal recording was made.

Hilal, the Al-Jazeera editor, said the tape was titled The Last Will and Testiment ``of the New York and Washington Battle Martyrs.'' The title shot included photos of the 19 hijackers, and Hilal said the tape might have been delivered from inside Afghanistan.

Al-Jazeera is a 24-hour station owned by Qatar's government. The station has an independent editorial line but maintains a strongly pro-Arab position. It reaches more than 35 million Arabs, including 150,000 in the United States.

The Arab satellite station repeatedly has broadcast exclusive footage of bin Laden making statements. Al-Jazeera also aired a video, released by the United States, showing the al-Qaida leader appearing to discuss the planning of the Sept. 11 attacks.

On Dec. 27, Al-Jazeera aired a bin Laden videotape it said was sent anonymously by air courier from Pakistan to the station. Then too, it was not clear where or when the tape was made but bin Laden's references indicated it could have been made around that time.

In January, CNN broadcast an interview with bin Laden that was done in late October. The interview was conducted by Al-Jazeera but the Arab network did not air the tape. That interview, done about a month before the Taliban and al-Qaida fled their headquarters at the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, shows a confident bin Laden, certain his forces would defeat the United States.

In mid-December, the Pentagon released a videotape of bin Laden that it said was found in a house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The tape had a date stamp that says it was made Nov. 9.