Al-Jazeera satellite channel broadcast Friday excerpts of a videotape by deputy leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, that praises Abu Musab al-Zarqawi but does not mention his death, suggesting it was made earlier. Al-Zawahri focussed on political developments in the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Egypt. An Al-Jazeera announcer said that the tape was made before the announcement of al-Zarqawi's death Thursday, because al-Zawahri praised the al-Qaida in Iraq leader's efforts to confront US-led forces in Iraq. "God bless the prophet of Islam in Iraq, the persistent hero of Islam, the Holy Warriors Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," al-Zawahri said. He also sent greetings to the Shura Council of Mujahedeen in Iraq and insurgents, "who are confronting crusaders and their apostate aids and the merchants of religion." Wearing a white turban and tunic al-Zawahri appeared against a black background. He repeatedly waved his right hand and pointed his finger in a gesture of admonishment. The al-Qaida deputy leader criticized a possible referendum in the Palestinian territories. "I call on Muslims to reject any referendum on Palestine, because Palestine is a house of Islam and not subject to any compromise." On developments in Sudan, he concentrated on the situation in Darfur, criticizing the visit by UN Security Council security experts to Sudan as being "to prepare to occupy and separate it." "I call upon every Muslim and everyone who has faith in Sudan, and every fervent Muslim in Darfur to confront the Zionist Crusader plot to occupy the lands of Islam." Al-Zawahri, who has focused on political issues before in his tapes, also gave his opinion on the campaign by a group of Egyptian judges for the independence of the judiciary.