Are we terrified yet? From AP, Sept. 29, emphasis added:
BAGHDAD – Al-Qaida in Iraq’s leader, in a chilling audiotape released Thursday, called for nuclear scientists to join his group’s holy war and urged insurgents to kidnap Westerners so they could be traded for a blind Egyptian sheik who is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison.
The fugitive terror chief said experts in the fields of “chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences — especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts” — should join his group’s jihad against the West.
“We are in dire need of you,” said the speaker, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri. “The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or ‘dirty,’ as they call them.”
The 20-minute audio was posted to a Web site that frequently airs Al-Qaida messages. The voice was thought to be Masri’s. He is believed to have succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad in June, as head of the Al-Qaida-linked organization.
Thursday’s message focused attention on Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a 68-year-old Egyptian cleric who was convicted in 1995 of plotting to blow up five New York City landmarks.
“I appeal to every holy warrior in the land of Iraq to exert all efforts in this holy month so that God may enable us to capture some of the Western dogs to swap them with our sheik and get him out of his dark prison,” said Masri, also an Egyptian.
Masri offered amnesty to Iraqis who cooperated with their country’s “occupiers,” calling on them to “return to your religion and nation” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which Sunnis began observing in Iraq on Saturday and Shiites on Monday.
“We will not attack you as long as you declare your true repentance in front of your tribe and relatives,” he said. “The amnesty ends by the end of this holy month.”