Al-Qaida head attacks Morsi for ties with Israel

Ayman al-Zawahiri calls for mass Egyptian demonstrations over "[Israel-Egypt] peace treaty, occupation of Palestine, siege in Gaza."

October 27, 2012 08:50
1 minute read.
Ayman al-Zawahiri

Ayman al-Zawahiri. (photo credit: REUTERS/Reuters TV)


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Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Egyptians to protest what he termed Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi’s “normalization” of ties with Israel, AFP reported Friday.

In a 58-minute video summarized and translated by the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Intelligence Group, Zawahiri called for mass demonstrations “against the Israeli embassy and against normalization and the peace treaty with Israel, and against the Israeli occupation of the land of Palestine, and against any concession and surrender to it, and against every siege in Gaza.”

Zawahiri, who became the leader of al-Qaida shortly after Osama bin Laden was killed by US troops, also pressed the newly elected Egyptian president to clarify his position on relations with the Palestinians and “the jihad to liberate Palestine.”

Egypt brokered an informal cease-fire between Israel and Hamas earlier this week, after two days of intense violence that saw some 80 rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev.

Alongside his mediation efforts, Morsi reaffirmed his commitment to the Palestinian people and promised his support in their “struggle” against Israel.

Speaking on state television to mark the Id al-Adha festival, Morsi said, “We will never accept any assault or siege on the Palestinians.”

Even so, some have questioned Morsi’s commitment to Hamas.

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said Thursday that “Egypt’s actions against Hamas are much harsher [now] than they were under the previous regime.” In a separate video released on the Internet, Zawahiri called for Muslims to kidnap Westerners and urged the full implementation of Shari’a (Islamic) law.

“The battle isn’t over, but it has started,” Zawahiri said. “I call upon Muslims to capture citizens of the countries that wage wars against Muslims.”

Zawahiri, who was bin Laden’s lieutenant and the brains behind much of al-Qaida’s strategy for many years, also directly challenged US President Barack Obama, calling him a “professional liar.”

“Obama must admit he and his allies are standing in the defeated line, and that Osama bin Laden, may Allah have mercy on him, and the rest of the mujahedeen and the Muslim Ummah [nation] are standing in the victorious line, whether anyone likes it or not,” he said Zawahiri.

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