Al-Qaida figure backs Iraqi insurgents
Updated: 2006-04-13 10:38
No. 2 al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri praised insurgents in Iraq,
particularly Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and called on all Muslims to support them in
a video posted Thursday on the Internet.
The video was dated with an Islamic month corresponding to November 2005 ¡ª
and al-Zawahri mentions an Oct. 23 earthquake that hit Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But it appeared to be the first time the 28-minute video has been made public.
It was not clear why the video was not released soon after the date it was
allegedly filmed. Al-Zawahri has appeared in at least three videotapes filmed
since November, all of them aired on the Al-Jazeera news network. Thursday's
video was posted on a Web forum used by Islamic militants to issue public
statements and videos.
Reached Wednesday evening, two U.S. counterterrorism officials declined
In the footage, al-Zawahri appears sitting, wearing a white turban and a grey
robe with a microphone pinned to it. An automatic weapon is leaning against a
brown backdrop behind him.
"The Islamic nation must support the heroic mujahedeen (holy warriors) in
Iraq, who are fighting on the very front line for the dignity of Islam,"
al-Zawahri said, waving his right hand toward the camera.
"And to my brother mujahedeen in Iraq, I say, Stay firm. Stay together. Your
enemy has begun to falter, so don't stop pursuing him untill he flees defeated,"
He called on Muslims to support his "beloved brother" Al-Zarqawi, who heads
al-Qaida in Iraq. "I have lived with him up close, and have seen nothing but
good from him," al-Zawahri said.