Old tape revives speculation on Ben Laden’s fate

The release of an old video showing Osama Ben Laden has revived speculation about the fate of the world’s most wanted man who has not offered foes or followers any proof he is alive for more than a year. Although some Taleban leaders have said the Saudi-born is alive and well, nothing has been heard from him since July 2006 when an audio message was posted on an Islamist website indicating that he was alive a few weeks before. “May God reward you and bless you for reminding us of the statements of the sheikh [Ben Laden],” one Islamist commented on a website which posted an old video this month showing Ben Laden preaching martyrdom. “We hope the sheikh appears in a new tape,” wrote another. CNN, which said it intercepted the video before it was to appear on radical Islamist websites, said it contained old clips but concluded it had been compiled in the past four weeks. Many experts say that if the millionaire militant is dead, it is unlikely that Al Qaeda would keep his demise secret for long.

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