Connect with Osama, download videos to phone


Al-Qaeda video messages of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri can now be downloaded to cellphones, the terror network announced as part of its attempts to extend its influence.
The announcement was posted late Friday by al-Qaeda's media wing, al-Sahab, on websites commonly used by Islamic militants. As of Saturday, eight previously recorded videos were made available including a recent tribute to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former al-Qaeda in Iraq leader killed by US forces in Iraq in June 2006.
Ben Venzke, the head of IntelCenter, a US group that monitors and analyses militant messages, said it was not the first time al-Sahab has released videos designed for cellphones.
He said the group has been releasing them for years, but that between September and December, a few video messages did not come with versions for cellphones.
''They might just be filling in some of the gaps, or just trying to release some that had come out before,'' Venzke said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
In a written message introducing the new cell phone videos, al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda's No. 2 figure, asked followers to spread the terror group's messages.
''I asked God for the men of jihadi media to spread the message of Islam and monotheism to the world and spread real awareness to the people of the nations,'' al-Zawahri said.
Videos playable on cellphones are increasingly popular in the Middle East. The files are transferred from phone to phone using Bluetooth or infrared wireless technology.
Clips showing former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's execution in December 2006 showed up on cell phones soon after his death. In Egypt, images showing police brutality have been passed around via cell phones including one video that showed an arrested bus driver being sodomized with a stick by police in the fall 2006.

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