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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
'New al-Qaeda tape' is released
Ayman al-Zawahri
Zawahri is in hiding
An audio tape said to have been recorded by a senior member of the al-Qaeda network has called for attacks on the US and its allies.

The speaker is identified as Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama Bin Laden's deputy.

The tape, aired on Arabic television channel al-Jazeera, calls for organised resistance against invading "crusaders" in the Muslim world.

In addition to the US and the UK, the speaker singles out Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan.

He says the countries cited took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya and gave Israel "means of survival".

If we die or are detained, continue the path after us
Speaker on tape, alleged to be Ayman al-Zawahri
He also says it is the duty of every Muslim to liberate "Palestine", and says the West is complicit in the deaths of Palestinian militant leaders.

"In Palestine, we do not only face the Jews, but we also face the global coalition against Islam, led by the crusader and Zionist United States and the crusader West and the agent leaders behind them."

'Fatwa'

Unusually for tapes attributed to Zawahri, the speaker alludes to the possibility that he might die.

"If we die or are detained, continue the path after us," the speaker is quoted as saying.

US Central Intelligence Agency analysts are said to have concluded that the voice on the broadcast is indeed Zawahiri.

Zawahri, a bespectacled Egyptian former surgeon, is believed to be the architect of the al-Qaeda ideology.

In 1998, he was the second of five signatories to Bin Laden's notorious "fatwa" calling for attacks against US civilians.

He was a key figure in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which later merged with al-Qaeda.

Zawahri's wife and children were reported killed in a US air strike in late November or early December 2001.

He has been indicted in the US for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa, and was sentenced to death in Egypt in absentia for his activities with the Islamic Jihad group in the 1990s.

He is believed to be hiding with the al-Qaeda leader on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

In a videotape released last month, Zawahri said the defeat of US-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was only a matter of time.




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