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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 22:04 GMT
Zawahiri video blasts US strike
Ayman al-Zawahri, shown on a video aired by al-Jazeera on 17 June 2005
Zawahiri has previously warned the US of interfering in the Middle East
Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has appeared on a video tape taunting the US about an air strike in Pakistan which failed to kill him.

On the tape, aired by al-Jazeera TV, he called the US president a "butcher" and asked: "Do you want to know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses."

Pakistani officials said some foreign militants died in the attack near the Afghan border earlier this month.

However most of the dead were villagers and Pakistan condemned the strike.

In the taped message, Zawahiri said the raid had targeted him and four of his companions.

"The whole world has discovered the magnitude of the United States' lies and failure and how barbaric it is in its fight against Islam and Muslims," he said.

He said that neither President George W Bush nor "all the powers on earth" could bring his death "one second closer".

He referred to the offer of a "truce" made by Osama Bin Laden in a 19 January tape also aired on al-Jazeera, saying the al-Qaeda leader had offered the US an "honourable exit" from Iraq.

On Iraq and Afghanistan, he told Americans that Mr Bush had given them a future "painted in the colour of blood", and he also noted British military involvement.

"O British wife: If the Department of Defence contacts you to tell you that your husband will reach you handicapped, with limbs amputated, and torched, then remember Tony Blair," he said.

This is the second appearance for the al-Qaeda deputy leader this month.

On 6 January he appeared in a video tape shown by al-Jazeera in which he called on the US president to admit defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zawahiri is regarded as Bin Laden's right-hand man.

The two have evaded capture since US-led forces brought down the Taleban regime in Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 2001 attacks on the US.

BBC defence and security correspondent Rob Watson says that although the al-Qaeda leaders are in hiding, they are clearly still able to continue waging an ideological battle with the West.




SEE ALSO:
'Zawahiri tape' praises fighters
21 Jan 06 |  South Asia
'Zawahiri' strike sparks protest
14 Jan 06 |  South Asia
Zawahiri 'not hit by US missile'
14 Jan 06 |  South Asia
Profile: Ayman al-Zawahiri
27 Sep 04 |  Middle East
Timeline: Al-Qaeda
22 Apr 05 |  In Depth



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