DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda has issued a video marking the September 11 attacks, in which deputy group leader Ayman al-Zawahri accuses Iran of taking part in a Western “Crusader” war against Islam, Al Jazeera television said on Monday.
The video also shows apparently recent footage of senior al Qaeda figure Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, casting doubt on a report that he was killed on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan last month.
In a segment on the video aired by al Jazeera, Zawahri attacked Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, questioning the Islamic Republic’s anti-Western stand.
“The (leader of Iran) collaborates with the Americans in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and recognizes the puppet regimes in both countries, while he warns of death and destruction to anyone who touches an inch of Iranian soil,” Zawahri said.
Al Qaeda, a militant Sunni Islamist group, often criticizes predominantly Shi’ite Iran, which has good relations with Afghanistan’s anti-Taliban leaders and Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government.
“Not even one Shi’ite authority — whether in Iraq or elsewhere — has issued a fatwa (religious edict) obligating jihad and taking up of arms against the American Crusader invaders in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Zawahri said.
Another segment of the video showed Abu al-Yazid commenting on the resignation of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, announced on August 18 — six days after a Pakistani official said Abu al-Yazid had been killed in clashes with Pakistani forces near the Afghan border.
Abu al-Yazid, also known as Abu Saeed al-Masri, said on the video that Musharraf was “humiliated by God” for betraying Islam.
“So here he is ... finding no option but to resign from the presidency,” he said.
Yazid, believed to be commander of al Qaeda operations in Afghanistan, is an Egyptian who served time in jail with Zawahri after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.
An Al Jazeera editor told Reuters the network received a copy of the 90-minute video, which he said was a compilation, including new material.
Reporting by Firouz Sedarat, and John Irish; Editing by Dominic Evans