Audiotape of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden surfaces on Internet

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A new audiotape of al-Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, has surfaced on the Internet.

On the tape, bin Laden claims that it was him alone who assigned the hijackers to perform the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and that Zacarias Moussaoui had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

"The truth is that he has no connection whatsoever with the events of Sept 11th, and I am certain of what I say, because I was responsible for entrusting the 19 brothers -- Allah have mercy upon them -- with those raids, and I did not assign brother Zacarias to be with them on that mission," said bin Laden who was speaking about the 9/11 highjackers.

"Since Zacarias Moussaoui was still learning how to fly, he wasn't number 20 in the group, as your government has claimed. It knows this very well," added bin Laden.

Bin Laden also said that Moussaoui confessed because of "pressures exercised against him during four and a half years [in jail]."

The Pentagon is aware of the tape and has confirmed its authenticity.

In April, bin Laden released an audiotape to Aljazeera saying that the isolation of the Hamas-led Palestine is a "war by crusaders and Zionists against Islam" and spoke of the "situation in Iraq, Palestine and Sudan."