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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Zawahiri tape praises insurgency
Ayman al-Zawahri shown on a video aired by al-Jazeera on 17 June 2005
Ayman al-Zawahri has already appeared in videos twice this year
Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has appeared in a video praising insurgents in Iraq, and in particular, militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

He describes Zarqawi, a Jordanian and the leading Jihadi militant in Iraq, as his "beloved brother" and calls on Muslims to support him.

"I have lived with him up close and have seen nothing but good from him," Zawahiri says in the video.

The tape dated November 2005 appeared on the internet on Thursday.

Zawahiri said he was making the video to mark the fourth anniversary of the December 2001 battle of Tora Bora, in which US forces fought with Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

Zawahiri has twice appeared in videos in January this year where he called on US President George W Bush to admit defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also taunted US forces over an air strike which failed to kill him.

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.

Zarqawi has become Iraq's most notorious insurgent - associated with the bloodiest bombings, assassinations and the beheading of foreign hostages.

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