(photo credit: AP [file])
Al-Qaida's No. 2 warned Palestinians in Gaza against accepting a truce with Israel in an audio message posted on extremist Web sites, an Internet monitoring service said Monday.
Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahri said "Israel's Arab aides" are trying to impose a truce in Gaza to defeat the Palestinians and he called on them to be steadfast while Jewish targets are attacked around the world.
"The jihad to liberate Palestine and all the homelands of Islam mustn't cease, and if the field tightens in one place, it widens in other places, and Crusader and Jewish targets are spread all over the world," he said in a transcript of the speech provided by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamic extremist Web sites.
Zawahri described ongoing negotiations for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip as "plots and conspiracies" to defeat the Palestinians after Israel's "aircraft and artillery" failed.
Zawahri said Islamic terrorists would help the Palestinians by mounting attacks everywhere, "for the entire world is our field against the targets of the Zionist Crusade."
The recording, which focused primarily on Islamic militant successes in Somalia, was the third Zawahri has posted this year dealing with the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza. The terror network's chief, Osama bin Laden, also issued an audio message on Gaza in January, urging Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel.
Al-Qaida holds little influence among Palestinians but the network's Gaza-related postings are likely meant to harness Muslim anger about the IDF offensive in Gaza and direct it against Arab regimes friendly with Israel.
The authenticity of the 25-minute recording could not be independently confirmed, but it was posted on an Islamist Web site known as a clearing house for al-Qaida messages.