President George W Bush said Osama bin Laden's mention of the Iraq war in his video message is a reminder of Al-Qaeda's long-term objectives in Iraq and of the "dangerous world in which we live."
"Iraq is part of this war against extremists," Bush said, responding to the terrorist leader's message but never using his name. "If Al-Qaeda bothers to mention Iraq, it's because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out." Bin Laden's video, part of which was broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, emerged just days before the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush, attending a summit of Pacific Rim leaders in Sydney, Australia, said: "The tape is a reminder about the dangerous world in which we live, and it's a reminder that we must work together to protect our people against these extremists who murder the innocent in order to achieve their political objectives." The president spoke during a photo opportunity with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, referring to "a tape" and "the tape" and sometimes using awkward phrasing, apparently to avoid bin Laden's name.
The Homeland Security Department was continuing to analyze the video to see if it includes any coded messages, department spokesman Russ Knocke said. But the department has found no credible information of an imminent threat to the homeland. The United States' threat level remains the same — elevated for the nation and high for the aviation sector.
"Our strategic threat assessment is that we are in a period of increased risk," Knocke said. "We continue to call for heightened vigilance by authorities at all levels as well as by the American public, and we remind everyone that if they see something, please say something."
‘I am not the 20th hijacker’
A Saudi suspected of being the ‘20th hijacker’ in the September 11 attacks has recanted his confession, saying he made false statements after he was beaten, abused and humiliated at Guantanamo.
Mohammed al-Qahtani who US officials have said previously was subjected to harsh treatment authorised by former Defense Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld denied knowledge of the September 11 attacks in his first appearance before a military panel at Guantanamo Bay.
"I am a businessman, a peaceful man," al-Qahtani testified under oath, nearly five years after he was taken to the detention centre in Cuba. "I have no connection to terrorism, violence or fighters."
An unidentified military officer at the hearing said the detainee admitted traveling in 2001 in Afghanistan, where he received terrorist training, met with Osama bin Laden and agreed to participate in a "martyr mission" for Al -Qaeda.