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THE WORLD

No. 2 in Al Qaeda Scorns 'Crusader'

Ayman Zawahiri calls for armed struggle against the U.S. in a tape broadcast on Al Jazeera.

June 18, 2005|From Associated Press

CAIRO — Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader released a new video, broadcast on Al Jazeera television Friday, in which he disparaged the U.S. concept of reform in the Middle East and said armed jihad was the only way to bring change in the Islamic world.

The message from Ayman Zawahiri was part of his first video appearance since February.

"The removal of the crusader and Jewish invaders won't occur by peaceful demonstrations," he said in a brief clip shown on the pan-Arab satellite channel. "Reform and expelling the invaders from the countries of Islam won't happen except through fighting for God's sake."

The Egyptian was shown sitting before a plain backdrop with an automatic rifle leaning next to him. He wore a white turban and black and white robes. At one point, he glanced to the left at something off camera.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera aired three short segments of the video without saying how long the full message was. A spokesman for the station said it had received the tape Friday.

In one of the aired clips, Zawahiri called on Palestinian militant groups to end a cease-fire with Israel and stay out of upcoming legislative elections in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Zawahiri is an Egyptian-trained doctor who served time in prison in Egypt for Islamic militancy. After his release, he moved to Afghanistan, where he merged his militant faction with Osama bin Laden's in the 1990s.

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