Television taunt by 'bin Laden's sons'

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Four of Osama bin Laden's sons were shown on television yesterday, near the wreckage of what the Taliban claims is a downed American helicopter.

One son, Hamza, read poetry while his brother Mohammad carried a rocket launcher near the wreckage.

The two were among four youths shown in footage from Afghanistan, screened by Qatar's Al-Jazeera station, which identified them as sons of Osama bin Laden – Hamza, Mohammad, Khaled and Laden.

Sitting against the backdrop of metal wreckage, Hamza recited a poem in classical Arabic hailing the Afghan capital, Kabul, and praising the Taliban leader "our emir Mullah Mohammad Omar, symbol of manhood and pride".

Al-Jazeera said the four were among a group of fighters who joined Taliban forces inspecting a site where the Taliban said it downed a helicopter in Ghazni province on Saturday.

The Pentagon has denied an aircraft was downed. In the footage, a gunman taunts US troops, showing Mr bin Laden's sons a picture of US soldiers.

"You see. They are commandos? They are a superpower only in Hollywood and in films," said the gunman. "Their heroes are only mythical like Rambo and they won't come on the land of Afghanistan. And if they do come here, they will end up in pieces like this," he added, pointing to the wreckage.

One gunman carried an automatic rifle inscribed with the Arabic words "Death to Bush".