Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 23:42 UK

Al-Qaeda deputy defends attacks

Ayman Zawahiri in a video issued by al-Sahab, al-Qaeda's media branch, on 27 February, 2008
Ayman al-Zawahiri denied reports about Osama Bin Laden's health

Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri has defended attacks on the UN, describing the body as an enemy of Muslims.

The Egyptian-born militant also used an internet message to say his leader, Osama Bin Laden, was in good health.

His audio message answered questions about al-Qaeda's future solicited from websites linked to the group.

The questions covered topics from the group's plans for Palestine and opportunities for women militants, al-Qaeda's al-Sahab media arm said.

"The United Nations is an enemy of Islam and Muslims," said Mr Zawahiri in the 90-minute message.

Attacks on Jews

He denied reports alleging Bin Laden was sick.

"Sheikh Osama Bin Laden is in good health," he said. "The ill-intentioned always try to circulate false reports about him being sick."

Mr Zawahiri also called for attacks on Jews both inside and outside Israel.

"We promise our Muslim brothers that we will do our utmost to strike Jewish people in Israel and abroad with help and guidance from God," he said.

The recording followed an audio message released last month attributed to Mr Zawahiri, urging attacks on American and Israeli interests.

Some 900 questions from al-Qaeda supporters and those curious about the group had been submitted since al-Sahab solicited requests for information last December.

Both Bin Laden and Mr Zawahiri are believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

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