Zawahri urges Muslims to hit US allies' interests
An audio tape attributed to Al Qaeda's deputy leader urged Muslims Friday to organize resistance against "crusader America" and its allies throughout the world.
"We can't wait or we will be eaten up country by country ... People of knowledge and experience should organize their efforts and form a leadership for the resistance to combat the crusaders."
The tape, aired by Al Jazeera television, said resistance should carry on if al Qaeda leaders were killed or arrested.
"Let us start resisting now. The interests of America, Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan are spread everywhere. They all took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya or enabled Israel to survive."
A U.S. intelligence official said the speaker was most likely Zawahri. It was not clear when the tape had been made.
"After conducting a technical analysis of the tape, we assess with high confidence that the voice on the recording is Zawahri," he said. He had no information on the tape's age.
The speaker said Muslim youths should emulate insurgents in Iraq, where guerrillas are fighting U.S. forces and the U.S.-backed government, and in Afghanistan, where guerrillas loyal to the ousted Taliban government are stepping up violence ahead of next month's presidential election.
It called for attacks against Israel and its ally, the United States, to support the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.
"Defending Palestine is a legitimate issue and liberating Palestine is an Islamic duty for all, therefore Muslims cannot give up Palestine even if the whole world does so," the voice said.
"Limiting the battle to fighting only the Jews in Palestine, and leaving America without attacking it, will not restrain America and the crusaders against us."
Zawahri and bin Laden, believed to be hiding in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, have eluded capture since the Sept. 11 attacks, for which al Qaeda is widely blamed.