Zawahri urges Egyptians to reject "criminal" Obama

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda’s second-in-command urged Egyptians to reject U.S. President Barack Obama’s planned visit, seen as a charm offensive toward Muslims angered by his predecessor’s policies, and called him a “criminal.”

“Obama ... is not welcome in Egypt,” Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian al Qaeda leader, said in a recording posted on an al Qaeda-linked Islamist website on Tuesday.

“Does (a group of) people in Egypt, who are raging flames and fuel, hear my cry,” Zawahri said reciting a poem composed during the British occupation of the Arab country.

Obama is trying to improve the United States image in Arab and Muslim countries after former president George W. Bush outraged millions of Arabs and Muslims with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as support for Israel.

Obama’s “bloody messages have been received and are still being received and they will not be covered by public relations campaigns or theatrical visits or polished words,” Zawahri said.

“O’ Egypt’s free, righteous and honorable people and mujahideen; stand united in the face of this criminal.”

Obama “came seeking, through ploy, to win what he had failed to acquire in the battlefield. After the mujahideen foiled America’s crusader projects in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.”

Listing famous Egyptian Islamic and national figures and militants, Zawahri included one of the 19 al Qaeda suicide bombers who carried out the 2001 attacks on U.S. cities and the assassin who killed Anwar al-Sadat, the Egyptian President who signed Cairo’s peace deal with Israel.

Reporting by Inal Ersan; Editing by Louise Ireland