Washington: Al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri incites Muslims to rise up against both NATO and Muammar Gaddafi`s forces in a newly released video apparently taped before the Western intervention in Libya.
Zawahiri, wearing a white robe, was speaking in a one hour and nine minute video produced by al Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamic extremist websites.
SITE said Zawahiri split his lecture into three distinct parts, addressing in turn the uprisings in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.
"I want to direct the attention of our Muslim brothers in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and the rest of the Muslim countries, that if the Americans and the NATO forces enter Libya then their neighbours in Egypt and Tunisia and Algeria and the rest of the Muslim countries should rise up and fight both the mercenaries of Gaddafi and the rest of NATO," he said, according to SITE.
Zawahiri stated al Qaeda`s backing for the ousted Tunisian and Egyptian presidents and also accused the Egyptian government of "separation from Islam" and "subservience to the West”, the monitoring group said.
The video was the fifth instalment in Egyptian-born Zawahiri`s series titled `A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt`.
In his third instalment in February before the toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, he accused the United States of installing sympathetic new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, demanding Muslims rise up against "whippers" and "invaders".
Zawahiri`s latest video concluded with an excerpt of a previously-released video message from US-Yemeni cleric and terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaqi, SITE said.
Awlaqi, an American citizen who remains at large and is believed to be in Yemen, is suspected of being a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and of instigating a string of attacks against the United States.
Zawahiri`s statements so far have not touched on the implications of the popular uprisings for al Qaeda, which rejects democracy and civil liberties as a rival religion to Islam tantamount to apostasy.