in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet, al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised the lack of support in Iraq and urged Muslims to join the Islamist insurgency in the country.
Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised Muslims for failing to support Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and elsewhere in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet.
Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant also blasted Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas over their reported readiness to consider a peace deal with Israel.
"I call upon the Muslim nation to fear Allah's question (at judgement day) about its failure to support its brothers of the Mujahedeen (holy Warriors), and (urge it) not to withhold men and money, which is the mainstay of a war," he said.
He also used the two-and-a-half hour message to urge Muslims to join militant groups, mainly in Iraq, where he claimed that the insurgency against the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition forces is bearing fruit.
"I urge all Muslims to hurry to the battlefields of Jihad (holy war), especially in Iraq," Zawahiri said in the message, the second in a two-part series to answer about 100 questions put to him via online militant forums.
"The situation in Iraq heralds an imminent victory of Islam and the defeat of the crusaders and those who stand under their flag," he said.
Turning his ire on Hamas, he said the Palestinian group's reported willingness to hold a referendum on any peace deal with Israel flew in the face of Sharia, or Islamic, law.
"How can they put a matter that violates Sharia to a referendum?" he added.
Former US president Jimmy Carter said on Monday that Hamas told him it would recognise Israel's right to live in peace if a deal is reached and approved by a Palestinian vote.
Hamas exiled chief Khaled Meshaal later told a press conference in Damascus that Hamas would not recognise the Jewish state and would insist on the right of some 4.5 million Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.
Meshaal ruled out any direct talks with Israel but said Hamas was ready to hold discussions with US officials.
He said Hamas would recognise a peace deal negotiated by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on condition that it was subject to a referendum.
In his message, Zawahiri also called on the various jihadist groups operating in the country to unite behind the "more advanced" Al-Qaeda-backed "Islamic State of Iraq".
In the first part of the message released last Friday, Zawahiri commemorated the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq with a call to Muslims to make Iraq a "fortress of Islam".
Date created : 2008-04-22