WORLD / Middle East

Al-Qaida No. 2 praises al-Zarqawi in tape
Updated: 2006-06-09 20:40

The Al-Jazeera network broadcast a video by al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri on Friday in which he spoke about Palestinian and Egyptian politics and the situation in Darfur.

Ayman al-Zawahri speaks to the press in this 1998 file photo taken in Khost, Afghanistan and made available Friday March 19, 2004. [AP]

The tape apparently was made before the announcement that Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed Wednesday by a U.S. airstrike. Al-Zawahri praised the al-Qaida in Iraq leader's efforts to confront U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

"God bless the prophet of Islam in Iraq, the persistent hero of Islam, the Holy Warrior Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," al-Zawahri said.

He also sent greetings to the Shura Council of Mujahedeen in Iraq and insurgents, "who are confronting crusaders and their apostate aides and the merchants of religion."

The bearded al-Zawahri wore a white turban and tunic, and sat before a black background with an automatic weapon propped behind his right shoulder. He repeatedly waved his right hand and pointed his finger in a gesture of admonishment.

Al-Zawahri urged Muslims to reject a referendum proposed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"I call on Muslims to reject any referendum on Palestine, because Palestine is a house of Islam and not subject to any compromise," he said.

"I call upon Muslims everywhere to support the brothers in Palestine," he said, mentioning armed Islamist militants, prisoners and their families.

Al-Zawahri, who has focused on political issues before in his tapes, also discussed the campaign by a group of Egyptian judges for the independence of the judiciary and the ongoing violence in Sudan's Darfur region.


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