I have a question al-Zawahiri. Would you like to be cremated or buried after we’re done with you? Or would you just like to be a grease spot on the pavement?
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Osama bin Laden’s chief deputy is warning that al-Qaida still has plans to target Western countries involved in the Iraq war.
The comments by Ayman al-Zawahri came Tuesday in a lengthy audiotape posted on an Islamic web site. In the tape, al-Zawahri answers questions posted online last winter by al-Qaida followers.
When asked by one follower if the terror group still had plans to attack Western countries that participated in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent war, al-Zawahri said: “My answer is: Yes! We think that any country that has joined aggression on Muslims must be deterred.”
Al-Qaeda must be getting their asses handed to them. These statements have become just like clockwork. Kind of funny every time we capture one of their punks, they issue a statement. Must have gotten a big fish yesterday.
AL-QAEDA number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Muslims to join the insurgency in Iraq as he continued answering questions sent to him via online forums.
“I urge all Muslims to hurry to the battlefields of Jihad (holy war), especially in Iraq,” Zawahiri said in the message featured in a new audiotape posted on the web.
The tape is the second in a two-part series to answer about 100 questions put to him via militant forums.
In a video released last December, Zawahiri called for web users around the world to send in questions for him to answer. At the time it was promised that the answers would come the following month.
The first answers did not come until earlier this month. In that first instalment, Zawahiri said his boss, Osama bin Laden, was alive and well.
“The ill-intentioned always try to circulate false reports about him being sick,” Zawahiri, who is also a doctor, said of bin Laden.
He claimed al-Qaeda did not kill innocent Muslims on purpose - unless they had to.
“If there is any innocent who was killed in the Mujahidin’s operations, then it was either an unintentional error, or out of necessity,” he said.
“We do not kill the innocent. We fight those who kill the innocent - the Americans, the Jews, the Russians, the French and their agents.”
He and Saudi-born bin Laden are believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The voice in the lengthy file posted on an Islamic Web site, could not be immediately confirmed as al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri’s. But it sounded like past audiotapes from the terror leader.
The tape is billed as the second installment of al-Zawahri’s answers to more than 900 questions submitted on extremist Internet sites by al-Qaida supporters, critics and journalists in December.
Asked if there are any women in al-Qaida, the terror leader answered simply: “No.”
In another answer, al-Zawahri said it was against Islamic religious law for any Muslim to live permanently in a Western country “under the laws of the infidels.”
In his first response to questions earlier this month, al-Zawahri rejected the criticism of attacks by the terror network’s followers, which have killed thousands, and maintained that the group does not kill innocent people.
Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington in 2001, while its affiliates in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria regularly set off bombs in crowded urban areas that have taken thousands of lives.
Al-Qaida’s media arm, Al-Sahab, announced in December that al-Zawahri would take questions from the public posted on Islamic militant Web sites and would respond “as soon as possible.”
Queries were submitted on the main Islamist Web site until the cutoff date of Jan. 16. After the deadline, the questions disappeared from the site.
According to the questions, self-proclaimed al-Qaida supporters appeared to be as much in the dark about the terror network’s operations and intentions as Western analysts and intelligence agencies.
The questioners appeared uncertain whether al-Qaida’s central leadership directly controls the multiple, small militant groups around the Middle East that work in its name, or whether those groups operate on their own.
Some asked if al-Qaida had a long-term strategy, while others wanted advice about conducting Islamic holy war.