Al-Qaeda today posted an online video of two plane hijackers of the September 11, 2001 suicide attacks, which they said were part of a war to drive US forces out of the Arabian Peninsula.
Salim al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdar, two of the 19 extremists who hijacked the four airliners, appeared reading their wills, in a video produced by As-Sahab media arm of Al-Qaeda and provided by the US-based SITE Monitoring Services.
Mihdar, dressed in a military jacket and a white turban, with a machinegun to his left, said he was reading his will on 21 Safar 1422, on the Islamic calendar, which was April 26, 2001.
Mihdar is believed to have landed in the United States in January 2000.
“Arab leaders... have gone far in betraying their nation and have permitted Christian Americans into the land of the two holy sites” of Mecca and Medina, he said.
The operation was “part of jihad (holy war) campaign against the United States and its supporters,” said Hazmi in a separate message.
“It is to restore dignity for Muslims and to drive you out of the Arabian Peninsula,” said Hazmi, who appeared with a patchy beard, wearing a brown thawb garment and a black turban.
“The Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) is being desecrated... and the Arabian Peninsula is full of US and British troops that fight Allah,” he said in a clear reference to foreign troops based at the time in Saudi Arabia.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when Al-Qaeda hijackers slammed two airliners into New York’s World Trade Centre.
Another plane hit the Pentagon, while the fourth slammed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought the hijackers.
The two assailants appeared in a video titled “The Emerging Sun of Victory Over the Victorious Ummah and the Vanquished Crusades,” which comprises mainly of another audio message by Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri slamming Muslim countries for not being able to defeat Israel.
“These Governments cannot liberate Palestine. In fact, they are helping in keeping occupation in Palestine,” he said, condemning the new Arab governments run by Islamists for “declaring that they will keep (peace) agreements” with Israel.