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RESPONSE TO TERROR | IN THE BATTLE ZONE

TV Claims to Show Bin Laden's Sons

Media: Al Jazeera footage features four youths and what the Taliban says is a downed U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan.

November 08, 2001|Reuters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Hamza Osama bin Laden read poetry while his brother Mohammed strolled carrying a rocket launcher near the wreckage of what Afghanistan's ruling Taliban said was a downed U.S. helicopter.

The two were among four youths shown Wednesday in exclusive footage from Afghanistan by Qatar's Al Jazeera television, which identified them as sons of Osama bin Laden--Hamza, Mohammed, Khaled and Laden.

The four, who appeared to be teenagers, showed no signs of being fazed by U.S. military strikes on Afghanistan aimed at flushing out their father, blamed by the United States for the September attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

Sitting against the backdrop of metal wreckage, Hamza grabbed the attention of several masked gunmen as he recited a poem in classical Arabic hailing the Afghan capital, Kabul, and praising the Taliban leader, "our emir Mullah Mohammed Omar, symbol of manhood and pride."

Al Jazeera said the four sons were among a group of Arab fighters who joined Afghan Arab fighters and Taliban forces inspecting a site where the Taliban had said it downed a U.S. helicopter in the eastern province of Ghazni on Saturday.

The Pentagon has denied an aircraft was downed. It said bad weather forced a helicopter to crash but all its crew were rescued and the craft was destroyed by fighter jets to prevent the Taliban from taking sensitive equipment.

Al Jazeera said the Taliban had deployed some forces, including Afghan Arab volunteers, in the area to study maps and other documents found near the helicopter.

One gunman taunted U.S. troops to come to Afghanistan as he showed Bin Laden's sons a picture of U.S. soldiers.

"You see. They are commandos? They are a superpower only in Hollywood and in films," said the gunman in English.

"Their heroes are only mythical like Rambo and they won't come on the land of Afghanistan. And if they do come here, they will end up in pieces like this," he added, pointing to the wreckage.

One gunman carried an automatic rifle inscribed with the Arabic words "Death to Bush."

Bin Laden, one of 52 children of one of Saudi Arabia's richest families, has numerous children from several wives.

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