TOPIC: Al-Qaeda releases 9/11 anniversary message
Source: CNN via Netscape.com
A lengthy statement from al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks calls on Muslims to step up their resistance against the United States. "Your leaders are hiding from you the true extent of the disaster," al-Zawahiri says in a statement posted on the Internet late Sunday. "And the days are pregnant and giving birth to new events, with Allah's permission and guidance."
The video appeared on the Web site for Al-Sahab, the terror network's production company, said counterterrorism expert Laura Mansfield.
Al-Zawahiri calls on Muslims to fight U.S. allies in Somalia, where an Islamic militia recently pushed a U.S.-backed alliance of warlords out of the capital, and urges Iraq's Kurds to take up arms against the Americans. Al-Zawahiri also attacks "collaborators" he says have abandoned Islam.
Appearing just hours before the Monday anniversary of the attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, the video is more technically sophisticated than previous ones released by al Qaeda's leadership. It is more than an hour long and is subtitled in English, with a short section of highlights at the start of the video. The statement appears to have been recorded recently, as al-Zawahiri references Israel's bombardment of Lebanon and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Palestinian militants and by Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas. Al-Zawahiri criticizes the West for arming Israel, and calls on the Muslim nation "to rush with everything at its disposal to the aid of its Muslim brothers in Lebanon and Gaza."
An Egyptian-born doctor from a prominent family, al-Zawahiri is al Qaeda's second in command and is thought to be bin Laden's personal physician.