A key al-Qaida leader has called for revenge
against Israel's offensives in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. President Bush
says he is not surprised.
Al-Qaida's second-in-command says the terrorist group will not remain
silent while Israeli attacks "burn our brothers."
In a taped message broadcast by the al-Jazerra television network,
Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Muslims to rise up and become martyrs in a
global Jihad against Israel
and what he called the crusader coalition.
He said war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires. It is a jihad
that will last, he says, until religion prevails from Spain to Iraq. "The
entire world is an open battlefield for us," Zawahiri said.
It is his 10th taped message of the year, but the first from al-Qaida
since fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon began more
than two weeks ago.
Asked about the tape during an Oval Office meeting with the President
of Romania, President Bush said he is not surprised that other terrorists
are starting to speak out in support of Hezbollah.
attitude about life is that there should not be free societies," said Mr.
Bush. "And he believes that people ought to use terrorist tactics - the
killing of innocent people - to achieve his objective. And so I am not
surprised that he feels like he needs to lend his voice to terrorist
activities that are trying to prevent democracies from moving forward."
With al-Qaida's strength significantly reduced, White House spokesman
Tony Snow believes the new threats are part of Zawahiri's efforts to
remain relevant, or to "stay in the game."
Observers say it may also signal the willingness of the largely Sunni
organization to set aside sectarian differences and help the predominantly
Shi'ite Hezbollah movement in its fight against Israel.