from ap: Osama bin Laden plans a new video to be released in the coming days ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in what would be the first new images of the terror mastermind in nearly three years, al-Qaida's media arm announced Thursday.
The al-Qaida leader has not appeared in new video footage since Oct. 29, 2004, and he has not put out a new audiotape in more than a year.
One difference in his appearance was immediately obvious. The announcement had a still photo from the upcoming video, showing bin Laden addressing the camera, his beard fully black. In his past videos, bin Laden's beard was almost entirely gray with dark streaks.
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute, a Washington-based group that monitors terror messages, said bin Laden's beard appeared to have been dyed, a popular practice among Arab leaders.
"I think it works for their (al-Qaida's) benefit that he looks young, he looks healthy," Katz said.
update: US government examines bin laden video
from afp: The US government is analyzing a copy of the latest video message said to be made by elusive Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden for the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, top US officials said Friday.
"I can confirm that USG has the video and it is currently being analyzed," a senior US administration official told AFP, referring to the US government.