Dubai — Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, join Syria’s rebellion and to ensure Egypt implements sharia, SITE Monitoring reported on Saturday, citing a two-part film posted on Islamist websites.
The Egypt-born cleric, who became al Qaeda leader last year after the death of Osama bin Laden, spoke in a message that lasted more than two hours.
“We are seeking, by the help of Allah, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives,” he said, praising the kidnapping of Warren Weinstein, a 71-year-old American aid worker in Pakistan last year.
Zawahri’s message was first released on Wednesday, SITE said, just two weeks after the cleric issued a filmed statement calling for more protests against the United States over a California-made film mocking the Prophet Mohammad.
In his new message, he called on Muslims to ensure Egypt’s revolution continued until sharia law was implemented and urged fellow Muslims to join the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
The release of his message had been delayed, he said, because of the “conditions of the fierce war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan where he said U.S.-led forces had intensified a bombing campaign.
U.S. President Barack Obama, whom Zawahri described as a “liar” and “one of the biggest supporters of Israel”, has stepped up the use of unmanned drones to target militants in both countries as well as in Yemen.
In a further attack on Western governments and international institutions, Zawahri accused world powers of giving Syrian President Assad “a licence to kill” his opponents.