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Monday, September 11, 2006

Al-Qaeda threatens Israel, US, Persian Gulf

CNN got a 'present' for the fifth anniversary of 9/11: a videotape of Al-Qaeda's number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issuing the organization's latest threats. Israel is specifically mentioned, as is the United States and the Persian Gulf:
A lengthy video statement from Ayman al-Zawahiri, issued on the eve of the fifth anniversary of al Qaeda's attacks on the United States, calls on Muslims to step up their resistance to the United States and warns that "new events" are on the way.

"Your leaders are hiding from you the true extent of the disaster," the fugitive deputy to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden says in the video, which appeared on Islamist Web sites late Sunday. "And the days are pregnant and giving birth to new events, with Allah's permission and guidance."


It appears to have been recorded recently, with references to Israel's bombardment of Lebanon and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Palestinian militants in Gaza and by Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas. It criticizes the West for arming Israel and calls on the Muslim nation "to rush with everything at its disposal to the aid of its Muslim brothers in Lebanon and Gaza." (Watch excerpts from the latest al Qaeda video -- :55)

Al-Zawahiri says any attack on Westerners and Jews anywhere can be considered fair, because "the reality of international politics is the humiliation and repression of the Muslim at the hands of the idol-kings who dominate this world."

The statement calls on Muslims to fight U.S. allies in Somalia, where an Islamic militia recently pushed an American-backed alliance of warlords out of the capital Mogadishu. It also urges them "to make use of every opportunity afforded him to take revenge on America" for the imprisonment of blind Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, considered a major theological force behind al Qaeda.

The video is more technically sophisticated than previous ones released by al Qaeda's fugitive leadership. It is an hour and 16 minutes long and is subtitled in English, with a short section of highlights at the outset. An interviewer asks al-Zawahiri a series of questions.

Al-Zawahiri calls for Iraq's Kurds, whose leaders have cooperated with U.S. troops in Iraq, to fight the Americans "and write an honorable page in the contemporary history of Islam." And he blasts "collaborators" and "defeatists" he says have turned their backs on Islamic law to endorse corrupt governments in the Middle East.

And in a threat to Britain, which currently commands NATO troops in Afghanistan, he says, "I want to bring to the attention of the British people that Dr. Brydon won't be returning to India this time." The comment is a reference to the sole survivor of a British army massacred in Afghanistan in 1842.


In a message directed at the people of the West, al-Zawahiri said Islamic fighters are scoring victories across Asia and the Middle East.

"We tell you not to concern yourselves with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, these are doomed," he said. "You should worry about your presence in the Gulf and the second place they should worry about, is in Israel."


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