Al-Qaida's No. 2 has issued a new video tape calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq, a U.S.-based intelligence monitoring group said Wednesday.
Ayman al-Zawahri is seen in the one-hour and 35 minutes tape dressed in white and addressing topics from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, said the U.S.-based SITE intelligence group, which monitors al-Qaida messages.
The group said it had obtained the tape ahead of its release on the Internet by militant web sites, and issued a transcript of al-Zawahri's remarks. The authenticity of the transcript could not be immediately verified.
In the tape, al-Zawahri encouraged Iraqis and Muslims in general to show greater support for the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida insurgent front in the country, even though it lacks "necessary qualifications", the SITE group quoted al-Zawahri as saying.
"The first thing which our beloved brothers in Iraq must realize is the critical nature of unity," al-Zawahri was quoted as saying in the tape's transcript released by SITE.
An Internet site deemed close to al-Qaida's leadership announced earlier Wednesday that "good news" would be coming soon.
The flashing red banner was interpreted by several other Islamist web sites as a sign that Osama bin Laden would issue a new message soon. It was not immediately clear whether it was in fact referring to his deputy's new tape.
Talk Show America 7/05/2007