Ayman issues call for more attacks
Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslims to attack the West in an audio tape posted on the Internet on Saturday, urging similar strikes as those against New York, London and Madrid in recent years.

In a video of his remarks aired by Al Jazeera television, Zawahri also urged the Islamist militant group Hamas not to recognise peace deals signed by the Palestinian Authority with Israel.

He also called on Muslims to boycott countries where satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad had been published, including Denmark, Norway, France and Germany, and said that Muslims should prevent the West from "stealing Muslims' oil".

"(Muslims have to) inflict losses on the crusader West, especially to its economic infrastructure with strikes that would make it bleed for years," said Zawahri, an Egyptian.

"The strikes on New York, Washington, Madrid and London are the best examples," he said.

"We have to prevent the crusader West from stealing the Muslims' oil which is being drained in the biggest robbery in history," he added. It was not clear if the tape was made before the failed al Qaeda attack last month on a major Saudi oil facility.

"Reaching power is not a goal by itself ... and no Palestinian has the right to give away a grain of the soil," said Zawahri in comments directed at Hamas. "The secularists in the Palestinian Authority have sold out Palestine for crumbs... Giving them legitimacy is against Islam."

The U.S. State Department dismissed the threats.

"No taped video threats will weaken our commitment to work with out allies in the international community to combat international terrorism and violent extremism, or to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of innocent civilians," said Justin Higgins, a U.S. State Department spokesman.

Zawahri called on Muslims to give financial support to Islamic fighters, saying they were on the "front line" in defending Islam.

The audio track of the video aired partially by the satellite television channel was posted earlier on a Web site used by Islamist groups.

Commenting on Zawahri's remarks, Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the group had no intention of recognising the deals.

"The Hamas movement will not fail the Palestinian people and the (Islamic) nation," he told Al Jazeera. "There is nothing wrong with (offering) advice but what we want ... is support from the nation."

As well as physical attacks on the West, Zawahri, who is deputy to al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden, called for an economic boycott against several countries.

"It is our duty to take part in a mass economic boycott of Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, and all countries that take part in this crusader attack against Islam," he said, referring to the cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper last year.

He described the cartoons as part of a U.S.-led "crusader" campaign. "An example of the hatred of the crusaders led by America ... are the repeated offences against the personality of the Prophet Mohammad, may peace be upon him," Zawahri said.

Saturday's tape came as U.S. President George W. Bush concluded a visit to Pakistan, where Zawahri and Osama bin Laden are believed to be hiding.

Zawahri, who wore a black turban and a white robe, sat in front of a curtain. He did not appear to have a customary assault rifle next to him, in the tape which carried the logo of al-Sahab, al Qaeda's media arm.

The Web posting said the tape was made in the Muslim month which approximately corresponded to February. Zawahri made reference to a ferry disaster on Feb. 2 in the Red Sea.
Posted by: Dan Darling 2006-03-05