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Islamist website posts video of Qaeda figure

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Islamist website published a video message from Abu Yahya al-Libi, the al Qaeda no. 2 who Washington reported was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan last week, but did not say when the footage was recorded.

A still image from October 18, 2011 video footage shows Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan-born top al Qaeda leader, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan earlier this week, a U.S. official said on June 5, 2012. U.S. officials said that Abu Yahya had recently been considered by U.S. counter-terrorism experts as the No. 2 in the core al Qaeda group led by Ayman al Zawahiri. REUTERS/IntelCenter/Handout

It was not immediately clear whether the posting of the film on Tuesday was an attempt to show Libi had survived the attack. He did not refer to the U.S. report in his message and the film was only dated with the current Islamic year 1433.

Libi called on Islamist fighters outside Syria to join rebels in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad.

“We call on our brothers in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey to go to help their brothers,” he said in the video, released by a group known to be the media arm of al Qaeda.

“If your revolution was to be peaceful, God would have chosen it that way, but now the illusion of peaceful means after these great sacrifices ... would show weakness,” he added, addressing Syrians.

A post on the site three days ago had said a message from Libi would be released soon.

The U.S. government called the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, who had survived previous attacks, a serious blow to a group in which it said he played a key role forging links with young potential recruits.

Libi, a cleric whose real name was Mohamed Hassan Qaid, escaped from U.S. custody in Afghanistan in 2005 and on at least one previous occasion was prematurely reported to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Libi also attacked the United States and the West, saying they did not have good intentions for Syria.

“Since when have the United States, United Nations and West been keen to protect lives of Muslims,” he asked. Have the West’s observers and missions helped (the Syrian people)?”

Editing by Andrew Heavens