Zawahri: Bin Laden still leading holy war
Updated: 2005-12-07 15:43
Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri has urged mujahideen to attack oil
sites in Muslim states and said Osama bin Laden's battle against the West was
only just beginning.
"I bring a message of joy to all Muslims and mujahideen that al Qaeda, thanks
to God, is spreading and expanding and strengthening. Zawahri said in a video
posted on a Web site frequently used by militants.
"Its prince Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, is still leading its
jihad (holy war)," Zawahri said.
The first apparent confirmation in a year from a top al Qaeda official that
bin Laden was still alive was followed later in the lengthy interview by a call
to target oil installations.
"I call on mujahideen to
concentrate their attacks on Muslims' stolen oil, most of the revenues of which
go to the enemies of Islam while most of what they leave is seized by the
thieves who rule our countries," he said.
Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden talks at a
news conference in Afghanistan in this May 26, 1998 file
The tape appeared to have been filmed sometime during or after last September
as Zawahri referred to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's re-election in that
month, as well as Afghanistan's September 18 legislative elections.
The video showed Zawahri speaking against a white background to an
interviewer off-camera who said the interview was to mark the fourth anniversary
of the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities -- carried out by al Qaeda.
Zawahri said Britons had only their government to blame for al Qaeda's
suicide bombings in London earlier this year because it had failed to accept a
truce offered by bin Laden in exchange for leaving "Islam's homes."
"So let them taste the price of their government's foolishness. Whoever
attacks us, we cut off his hand ... so let them pay the price of this offensive,
they should be patient because the battle is only just beginning."
"MONEY, MEN AND PRAYER"
Bin Laden and his second-in-command, Zawahri, are believed to be hiding in
the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan and have eluded capture since the
Zawahri rallied Muslims to support al Qaeda, saying the new "crusader"
campaign by Washington and its Western allies was failing as evident by U.S.
losses in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"I call on
Muslims everywhere to support their mujahideen brothers in Afghanistan, Iraq and
Palestine with money, men and prayer ... especially (Muslims) in the countries
surrounding these battlefields."
A frame grab shows
Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri talking in an internet video
released December 7, 2005.[Reuters]
"America and its crusader allies have not achieved anything. Its forces in
the battleground are receiving blows each day."
He discredited Iraq's January elections, saying only half the population
turned out to vote, and blasted what he called a weak government that was swept
"The (Iraqi) government is begging Americans not to leave because they know
the day Americans leave is the day they are finished."
Four years after the U.S. war on Afghanistan, only the Taliban exercised real
power in the country, chaos reigned in its capital Kabul, and legislative
elections held in September were fraudulent as they were monitored by a biased
United Nations, he said.
"If it wasn't for the Pakistani army's continuous support to Americans, they
would have left (Afghanistan) a long time ago and they will leave soon, God
Last December Al Jazeera television aired an audio tape in which Bin Laden
urged Muslims to wage holy war against U.S. forces and the government in Iraq.
Zawahri's last appearance was in October, when he urged Muslims in a video
broadcast by Al Jazeera to help Pakistan's earthquake victims even though its
government was an "agent" of the United States.