Bin Laden Says U.S. ‘Full of Fear’
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CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Osama bin Laden praised God for the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon and said the United States was ``full of fear,″ in a videotaped statement after the strike launched by the United States and Britain against Afghanistan on Sunday.
``America was hit by God in one of its softest spots. America is full of fear from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that,″ bin Laden said in the video shown Sunday on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite station.
The taped comments appeared to be made in daylight, which would mean that the video was made before the Sunday night attack on Afghanistan. Bin Laden was shown dressed in fatigues and an Afghan headdress.
After the attacks had begun, an official from Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban militia said that both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar had survived the initial wave of the attack.
Bin Laden was shown dressed in fatigues and an Afghan headdress, sitting in a stone cave and flanked by two aides. It was the first time he has spoken himself about the Sept. 11 attacks, though he has issued denials of responsibility through intermediaries.
The video opened with an aide, the spokesman for bin Laden’s al-Qaida group, reading an opening statement.
``What happened in the United States is a natural reaction to the ignorant policy of the United States,″ said the aide, Suleiman Abu Gheit.
``If it continues with this policy, the sons of Islam will not stop their struggle. The American people have to know that what is happening to them now is the result of their support of this policy,″ the statement said.
``The war against Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden is a war on Islam.″
The Qatar-based independent TV network has been frequently airing exclusive footage of bin Laden, prompting the United States to raise concerns about Al-Jazeera’s coverage during a meeting with the emir of Qatar in Washington on Wednesday.