posted on Apr, 22 2008 @ 09:03 AM
Osama bin Laden's chief deputy on Tuesday denied a theory that Israel carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and blamed Iran and Shiite Hezbollah for
spreading the idea to discredit the Sunni al-Qaida's strike against the U.S.
The comments in a recording posted on an Islamic Web site reflected the increasing criticism by al-Qaida's No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri against
Iran. Al-Zawahri has accused Iran in recent messages of seeking to extend its power in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and through its Hezbollah
allies in Lebanon.
The authenticity of the two-hour audio recording could not be independently confirmed. But the voice sounded like past audiotapes from the terror
leader, and the posting where it was found bore the logo of Al-Sahab, al-Qaida's official media arm.
It was the second of two messages answering questions that were posted to Islamic militant Web sites earlier this year.
One of the questioners asked about the theory that has circulated in the Middle East and elsewhere that Israel was behind the 2001 attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Al-Zawahri accused Hezbollah's Al-Manar television of starting the rumor.
"The purpose of this lie is clear — (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian
media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said.
"Iran's aim here is also clear — to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.