Al-Jazeera has broadcast a new tape by Al Quaeda number 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri. He expresses support for the new Hamas-led Palestinian government,
condemns pro-western Middle East regimes and call for attacks on Western nations.
Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on the Palestinian militant group Hamas not to recognise past peace deals with Israel.
In a video message shown on Arab TV network al-Jazeera, Zawahiri urged Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in January, to fight on with arms.
Zawahiri also attacked the West for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons published in newspapers.
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This is the clearest and best produced Zawahiri statement issued in at least the past 2 years. From 1998 until 2003, the timing of Zawahiri
statements often correlated with Al-Quaeda strikes. Most famously, he issued a statement declaring war on the west 6 days before the 1998 embassy
bombings, and another three weeks before the USS Cole bombing. Since 2003, his messages have been broadcast in audio only or with images of uncertain
date, and they have not been obviously correlated with major attacks.
This most recent tape references the Hamas legislative victory and shows him actually speaking. It could herald a return to messages that more
directly activate major operations.
Past Zawahiri messages and their associated attacks:
Around August 1st 1998: Zawahiri and others signatories: "We inform the Americans. . . of preparations for a response which we hope they read with
care, because we will write it, with God's help, in a language they will understand."
August 7th 1998: Embassy bombings
Around Sept 20th 2000: Zawahiri: "Enough of words. "It is time to take action against this iniquitous and faithless force [the US] which has spread
its troops through Egypt, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia."
Oct 12th 2000: USS Cole bombing
Oct 6th 2002: message calls for attacks on economic targets
Same day: Tanker Limburg attacked in Persian Gulf
Oct 12th: Bali Bombings
May 21st 2003: message calls for attacks in support of Iraqi defenders
May 12th: Riyadh bombings
May 16th: Casblanca bombings