August 3, 2009 / 1:08 PM / 10 years ago

Al Qaeda's Zawahri says wipe Israel from the map

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri said Israel should be wiped off the map and described the Jewish state as a crime against Muslims.

Zawahri also accused U.S. President Barack Obama of conducting a policy on Israeli-Palestinian issues that was bound to end in failure for the Palestinians, and said Obama wanted a Palestinian state that would serve as “an extension of the CIA.”

“Israel is a crime that should be removed,” Zawahri said in an interview with al Qaeda’s media arm As-sahab, posted on an Islamist website Monday.

Al Qaeda leaders have often said that they would focus their holy war on Israel after the creation of an Islamic state in Iraq.

Al Qaeda has no recognizable presence in Israel, or in the Palestinian Territories which are dominated by the Islamist group Hamas and the secular Fatah movement led by U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Reporting by Inal Ersan, editing by Tim Pearce

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