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# Ayman Al-Zawahiri: Japan among targets because it helped in "crusader campaign"
# Iran, Hezbollah claim Israel committed 9/11 to discredit al Qaeda, terror leader says
# Al-Zawahiri: Women heroes for taking care of sons, but none belongs to al Qaeda
# Two-hour audiotape was response to 900 questions from al Qaeda sympathizers
Al-Zawahiri also denied a conspiracy theory that Israel carried out the September 11 attacks on the U.S., and he blamed Iran and Shiite Hezbollah for spreading the id
Al-Zawahiri also denied a conspiracy theory that Israel carried out the September 11 attacks on the U.S., and he blamed Iran and Shiite Hezbollah for spreading the idea to discredit the Sunni al Qaeda's achievement.
Al-Zawahiri accused Hezbollah's al-Manar television of starting the rumor.
"The purpose of this lie is clear: [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said.
"Iran's aim here is also clear: to cover up its involvement with America in invading the homes of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq," he added.
Iran cooperated with the United States in the 2001 U.S. assault on Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban, an al Qaeda ally.
The comments reflected al-Zawahiri's increasing criticism of Iran, which he has accused in recent messages of seeking to extend its power in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and through its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon. Until recent months, he had not often mentioned the Islamic republic.
Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks.
The anti-Iranian rhetoric could reflect an attempt to exploit majority Sunnis' fears of Shiite Iran's influence in the region and depict al Qaeda as the main force opposing it.