Warning Tape Said Authentic
Wed Oct 9,12:20 PM ET
By AUDREY WOODS, Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) - An
audiotape of Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaida's fugitive
second in command, appears to be genuine and to have
been recorded in the last few weeks, a U.S. official
said Wednesday. In the tape, he threatens new
attacks on the United States and its economy.
References to current events in the tape - obtained
Tuesday by Associated Press Television News - are a
clear sign that al-Zawahri is alive, the official
said in Washington on condition of anonymity.
The voice recording would be the first proof that
al-Zawahri survived U.S. bombing in Afghanistan
(news - web sites) launched a year ago. U.S.
officials say they don't know if al-Qaida leader
Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) is alive, but in
recent months U.S. troops have been scouring the
remote border region between Afghanistan and
The tape was probably made in the last few weeks but
could have been made as early as August, the
official said, adding that the tape was still being
In the tape, al-Zawahri refers to a July 1 U.S.
bombing in Afghanistan and speaks about the United
States' campaign against Iraq, accusing Washington
of seeking to subjugate the Arab world on behalf of
The recording was obtained by APTN in the form of a
video compact disc. On the disc, an interview with
al-Zawahri is played against a video backdrop with
English subtitles of the conversation, along with
scenes from the Sept. 11 attacks and other news
A title in the video identifies the speaker as
al-Zawahri and says the video is a production of the
As-Sahaab Foundation for Islamic Media. The
production company is credited with earlier al-Qaida
statements that appeared on Web sites and with the
so-called farewell video of Ahmed Ibrahim A.
Alhaznawi, a Sept. 11 hijacker.
Al-Zawahri, 50, is believed to be bin Laden's doctor
and spiritual adviser, providing the ideology that
drove al-Qaida. He was the head of Egyptian Islamic
Jihad until he forged an alliance with bin Laden in
Al-Zawahri is on the U.S. most wanted list and the
government is offering a reward of up to $25 million
for information leading to his capture. Egypt
sentenced him to death in absentia in 1999 for his
role in the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in
Pakistan and for attempting to kill officials in
Egypt. He has been indicted in the United States for
his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S.
embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
In the recording, al-Zawahri issues a warning to
U.S. allies - "the deputies of America" -
to get out of the Muslim world, specifying Germany
"The mujahid youth has already sent messages to
Germany and France," he said. "However, if
these doses are not enough, we are prepared with the
help of Allah, to inject further doses."
A May 8 attack on a bus in Pakistan killed 11 French
engineers and an April 11 blast at a synagogue in
Tunisia, a former French colony, killed 16 people,
including 11 Germans. Both attacks have been linked
"As for America itself, it should expect to be
treated the same way it has acted," al-Zawahri
says, pointing to suffering of Muslims in
Afghanistan and in the Palestinian territories.
"It will have to pay the price. ... The
settlement of this overburdened account will then
indeed be heavy. We will also aim to continue, by
permission of Allah, the destruction of the American
Al-Zawahri said the year-old U.S.-led campaign in
Afghanistan "has not achieved its goals. ...
Neither America nor its allies have been able to
harm the leadership of al-Qaida and Taliban,
including Mullah Muhammad Omar and Sheik Osama bin
Laden, may Allah protect them all. They are both in
Asked what he saw as the motives for the United
States campaign against Iraq, he said, "Its
first aim is to destroy any effective military force
in the proximity of Israel."
Its second aim, he said, is to consolidate the
supremacy of Israel over Arab countries.
"America and its deputies should know that
their crimes will not go unpunished," he said.
"We advise them to make a hasty retreat from
Palestine, the Arabian Gulf, Afghanistan and the
rest of the Muslim states, before they lose
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