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Al Qaeda's No. 2 Tries to Rally Muslims

March 05, 2006|From Reuters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman Zawahiri called on Muslims to attack the West in an audiotape posted on the Internet on Saturday, urging strikes similar to those against New York, London and Madrid in recent years.

In a video of his remarks aired by Al Jazeera television, Zawahiri urged the Islamic militant group Hamas not to recognize peace deals signed by the Palestinian Authority with Israel.

He also called on Muslims to boycott nations where satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad have been published, including Denmark, Norway, France and Germany, and said Muslims should prevent the West from "stealing Muslims' oil."

Muslims have to "inflict losses on the crusader West, especially to its economic infrastructure with strikes that would make it bleed for years," the Egyptian native said.

"The strikes on New York, Washington, Madrid and London are the best examples," he continued.

"We have to prevent the crusader West from stealing the Muslims' oil which is being drained in the biggest robbery in history," he said.

It was unclear whether the tape was made before the recent failed Al Qaeda attack on a Saudi oil facility.

"Reaching power is not a goal by itself ... and no Palestinian has the right to give away a grain of the soil," Zawahiri said in comments directed at Hamas. "The secularists in the Palestinian Authority have sold out Palestine for crumbs.... Giving them legitimacy is against Islam."

Zawahiri also called on Muslims to financially support Islamic fighters, who he said were on the "front line" defending Islam.

The audio track of the video aired partially by the satellite television channel was posted earlier on a website used by Islamist groups.

Commenting on Zawahiri's remarks, Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the group had no intention of recognizing the deals.

"The Hamas movement will not fail the Palestinian people and the [Islamic] nation," he told Al Jazeera. "There is nothing wrong with [offering] advice, but what we want ... is support from the nation."

Saturday's tape came as President Bush concluded a visit to Pakistan, where Zawahiri and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden are believed to be hiding.

Zawahiri, who wore a black turban and a white robe, sat in front of a curtain. He did not appear to have the usual assault rifle next to him on the tape, which bore the logo of Al Sahab, Al Qaeda's media arm.

He called for the overthrow of pro-Western Muslim governments, singling out the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan and Tunisia. The Web posting said the tape was made around February; Zawahiri referred to a ferry disaster Feb. 2 in the Red Sea.

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