"Ask Zawahri" responses coming soon from Qaeda leader

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 2, 2008 5:21pm EDT

Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri speaks in an image taken from video footage released on April 29, 2006. REUTERS/Handout

Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri speaks in an image taken from video footage released on April 29, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahri's responses to Internet questions submitted by the public will be released soon, probably within the next three days, a terrorism monitoring service said on Wednesday.

The questions were solicited in December by al Qaeda-linked Web sites that carried an interview with Osama bin Laden's second-in-command. They covered topics including al Qaeda's plans for Palestine, opportunities for women in the militant network and whether Muslims should deal in gold instead of dollars.

Al-Qaeda's as-Sahab media arm announced on Wednesday the impending release of the first round of Zawahri's answers, the U.S.-based terrorism monitoring service IntelCenter said. It said it expected a video release within 72 hours.

More than 2,000 questions were submitted in response to the offer, according to the SITE Institute monitoring group.

Analysts have said the semi-interactive forum allows Zawahri to appear accessible to followers even though he and other top al Qaeda leaders are believed to be holed up in remote Pakistan.

(Reporting by Randall Mikkelsen, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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