Al Qaeda's second-in-command vowed vengeance against the United States for
the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq killed in a
U.S. air strike two weeks ago.
second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri speaks in this file video footage
released April 29, 2006. In a separate video tape aired by al Jazeera
television on June 23, 2006, Al-Zawahri vowed vengeance against the United
States for the death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq
killed in a U.S. air strike two weeks ago.
"Yes (George W.) Bush, there isn't a single person who'll be killed that we
won't get vengeance for, God willing," Ayman al-Zawahri said in comments
addressed to the U.S. president on a videotape aired by al Jazeera television
late on Friday.
"Do you remember, Bush, the mujahid Osama bin Laden's vow that America will
not dream of security until we experience it in Palestine? ... So try uselessly
to dream of peace," said Zawahri, bespectacled and wearing a black turban.
Zawahri hailed Zarqawi as a martyr and attacked Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki, saying, "he traded the name of Islam to get to the seat of power." He
also blasted U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, calling him an "Afghan
Zawahri addressed the American public, saying Bush was lying when he says the
United States would "win" by killing Osama bin Laden, Taliban chief Mullah Omar
and other leading Qaeda and Taliban figures.
"He (Bush) is hiding from you the real disaster you're facing," he said,
against a backdrop of a picture of Zarqawi and a banner stating: "Zarqawi, the
Muslim nation's martyr and the prince of martyrs.
"You're not facing figures or organizations but you're facing the Muslim
nation which is flowing with the spirit of jihad."
A U.S. counterterrorism official said there was no reason to doubt the
authenticity of the videotape, which he said was the eighth Zawahri had released
since January 2006.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he described Zawahri's direct addresses
to Bush as "jihadist bravado."
"It's part of their ongoing propaganda campaign to appear relevant by
commenting on current topics," the official said.
Zawahri attacked religious scholars in Iraq as "those who subscribe falsely
He also lambasted Turkey for being a secular country and one which dismissed
Islamic law, welcomed U.S. bases and recognized Israel.
In a three-minute Internet video posted on Thursday, Zawahri urged Afghans to
fight foreign troops in their country whom he said had a history of denigrating
Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, named as the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has also
vowed to avenge the killing of his predecessor.