DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri called for attacks on Israeli and Western targets to avenge Israel’s raids on the Gaza Strip, in an audio tape posted on the Internet on Monday.
“O Muslims. Today is your day. Hit the interest of the Jews and the Americans and all those who participated in the aggression against Muslims,” said the speaker on the tape who sounded like Zawahri.
“Monitor the targets, collect the money, prepare the hardware, plan accurately and then attack,” he added, without specifically naming any targets. “No one can say today that we should fight the Jews in Palestine only.”
The recording, posted on Web sites often used by al Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups, was produced by al Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab.
Zawahri called for Muslims to support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the face of Israeli air strikes, but said demonstrations only served to let out steam, and that they should focus on armed struggle.
“Let them know that they would bleed for every dollar they spend on killing Muslims,” Zawahri said.
“They cannot ... insult our prophet and support Israel, and expect to live in peace in their countries,” he added, referring to the publication in the West of cartoons mocking Prophet Mohammad.
Zawahri accused Arab leaders of collusion with the United States and Israel in blockading Palestinians in Gaza. He singled out the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, calling them part of a “satanic alliance”.
“The satanic alliance shows us its ugliness and how low it is, an alliance of the crusaders and the Jews and with them (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak, and (Saudi Arabia’s ruling) Saud family and the son of al-Hussein (Jordan’s King Abdullah).
Israel has launched frequent air raids on the Gaza Strip and vowed to continue to stop missile attacks by Palestinian militant groups on Israel.
Reporting by Firouz Sedarat in Dubai and Sami Aboudi in London