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Al-Jazeera airs new video of Ayman al-Zawahri

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

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The Qatar-based Arabic language television network al-Jazeera has aired a new tape of al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri. In his first video appearance to mention the Peshawar province missile attack in Pakistan, Al-Zawahri refers to the alleged strike on himself and calls United States President George W. Bush, a "butcher" and a "failure".

On the tape, al-Zawahri says he survived an American air strike targeting him in eastern Pakistan on January 13. The air strike killed 13 villagers and led to widespread demonstrations in Pakistan for the alleged deaths of civilians. The U.S. has made no official claim of responsibility for the cross-border attack from Afghanistan.

"Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure. You are a curse on your own nation and you have brought and will bring them only catastrophes and tragedies," Zawahri said, referring to President Bush. "Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses."

Ayman al-Zawahiri

al-Zawahri also threatened the citizens of Britain and the U.S.A. in the tape; "The lion of Islam, Sheik Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, offered you a decent exit from your dilemma. But your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan and — God willing — on your own land."

A U.S. counterterrorism official said to AP reporters on condition of anonymity, that the message broadcast by al-Jazeera indicates that al-Qaeda believed it was important to show that al-Zawahri is alive. The U.S. official also noted that the video was delivered quickly, demonstrating al-Zawahri's ability to get his message out even faster than bin Laden. As al-Zawahri make a reference to Osama Bin Laden's offering of a truce, it appears this tape is recorded not more than 12 days ago, which make a very short time according to al-Qaeda standards.

It has been widely reported, but not confirmed, that some al-Qaeda operatives were killed by the U.S. airstrike on the village of Damadola in Pakistan.

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