Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and former spokesman saluted the September 11 terrorists and warned that more strikes by al Qaida were on the way in a speech a few months after the 2001 US terror attacks, prosecutors have said.
In the speech, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith began by praising a recent suicide bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia, then said that “we were granted victory when the world saw with its very own eyes what the mujahedeen did for God the Almighty in New York and Washington,” court papers made public yesterday said.
Abu Ghaith also claimed that “our martyrdom units are also ready and prepared to carry out operations against American and Jewish targets inside and abroad”.
The new allegations are in an updated indictment against Abu Ghaith filed in New York City, where he will stand trial next year. New charges of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists and providing such support were added.
Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty to charges saying he conspired to kill Americans in his role as al Qaida’s spokesman after the 9/11 attacks and faces life in prison if convicted.
His lawyers said last night the new charges filed so close to trial must be scrutinised.
Prosecutors said previously that that a month after 9/11, Abu Ghaith called on every Muslim to join the fight against the United States, declaring that “jihad is a duty”.
“The Americans must know that the storm of airplanes will not stop, God willing, and there are thousands of young people who are as keen about death as Americans are about life,” he said in the October 9 2001 speech.
Two days before that, he sat with terror mastermind bin Laden and current al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri against a rocky backdrop and spoke for nearly five minutes in one of the terrorist group’s most widely watched propaganda videos, US authorities said.
Kuwaiti-born Abu Ghaith has claimed he was detained for more than a decade in Iran, where he went after leaving Afghanistan in 2002. He remained in Iranian custody until January this year, when he entered Turkey and was again detained and interrogated until his release in late February.
He was heading home to Kuwait to see family when his flight landed instead in Amman, Jordan, where he was handcuffed and turned over to American authorities, he said.
Last month, a federal judge rejected defence claims that he was not properly informed of his right to a lawyer and that he was abused on a 14-hour flight to the United States.