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Bin Laden Video Condemned

The US-led hunt for Bin Laden has gone cold in the last two weeks, and there is continued confusion about where he now is or whether he has been killed. A new video shows he might be alive and at large.

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Rambling, improvised address

A new video-tape of Osama bin Laden was being studied by US miltary officials last night. The video was broadcast on Wednesday on the Arabic satellite news channel al-Jazeera based in Qatar.

In it, the world's most wanted man gave a rambling, improvised address. He described the West's "loathing" for Islam and double standards in its bombing of Afghanistan.

Bin Laden was calm, but his beard was greyer and he looked gaunt and pale, his dark eyes shifting frequently. Bin Laden says that the September 11 suicide attacks were intended to stop U.S. support for Israel.

"Our terrorism against the United States is worthy of praise to deter the oppressor so that America stop its support for Israel, which is killing our children," the Saudi-born fugitive said.

Bin Laden may be confined to a shrinking corner of Afghanistan. He may even by dead. But the broadcast on al-Jazeera television shows he may well have evaded the might of the world's most powerful army in trying to trap him.

It was unclear when the video was recorded but bin Laden, in a camouflage combat jacket with a sub-machinegun propped up beside him, indicated he was speaking earlier in December.

A spokesman for US President George W Bush dismissed the tape as "terrorist propaganda".

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