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'Osama hinted at 9/11 attacks six months before strike'

March 07, 2014 18:42 IST

Osama bin Laden had hinted at 9/11 attacks six months before the terror strike while addressing American "recruits" in Afghanistan, a media report said on Friday.

A witness at the US trial of bin Laden's son-in-law testified that six months before 9/11 attacks, the Al-Qaeda chief told the American 'recruits' that Islamist "brothers" are ready to die for jihad, The New York Post reported.

"Just know that we have brothers willing to carry their souls in their hands," bin Laden told "recruits", according to witness Sahim Alwan.

Asked by a prosecutor on Thursday what he believed bin Laden meant these "brothers" were willing to do, Alwan answered, "To die."

Alwan, 41, is one of the "Lackawanna Six", a half-dozen Yemeni-Americans from the Buffalo area who were convicted in 2003 of providing material support to Al-Qaeda by attending bin Laden's terrorist training camp near Kandahar in 2001, the report said.

Alwan, who is free after serving a nine and a half years' federal sentence, described bin Laden's ominous words -- delivered to recruits at a safe house en route to the camp -- during the second day of testimony against Kuwaiti-born Iman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.

It was the most damaging of testimony yet against Abu Ghaith, who is married to bin Laden's eldest daughter, the paper said.

Alwan identified Abu Ghaith from a decade-old photograph as having also addressed 'recruits' at bin Laden's camp. The testimony also gave an eerie glimpse of bin Laden on the cusp of the terror attacks, it said.

"I heard something is going to happen," Alwan recalled, mentioning to bin Laden, referring to camp-wide rumours of an imminent major terror attack.

"There have been threats made back and forth," bin Laden cryptically replied, according to Alwan.

Bin Laden, 54, the founder of al-Qaeda and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US, was killed on May 2, 2011, in a secret US Navy SEALs operation in a walled-off compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

Image: The towers of the World Trade Center pour smoke shortly after being struck by hijacked commercial airplanes in New York on September 11, 2001

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