Al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri vowed in a videotape on Al Jazeera television Friday to avenge the death of the terror network’s Iraq frontman Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, killed in a US air raid June 7.
“Yes O Bush, none of us is killed without us avenging him, with the help of God,” said Zawahiri, addressing US President George W. Bush to the backdrop of a picture of Zarqawi.
“Do you remember, O Bush, how the lion of Islam, the mujahed (holy warrior) Osama bin Laden, God keep him, swore that America will not be able to dream of security until it (security) becomes a reality in Palestine and all Muslim lands?” Zawahiri said.
He was referring to Al Qaeda leader and mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man.
“Try in vain to dream of security,” Zawahiri told Bush in his first comments on Zarqawi’s death, despite having appeared on two videos since the killing of Al Qaeda’s Iraq chief.
“As to the Americans, I tell them: Yes, the courageous hero and martyrdom-seeker Abu Musab, God rest his soul, was killed,” the Egyptian-born Zawahiri said.
“Tell me how many of you really died (in Iraq), how much your economy lost and how the morale of your soldiers is crumbling …
“Bush is lying to you when he says that you will be victorious if you kill Osama bin Laden, (the leader of Afghanistan’s Taleban movement) Mullah Omar and the members of Al Qaeda and the Taleban,” Zawahiri said.
“The lying addict (Bush) is hiding from you the disaster you face. You are not facing individuals or organizations; you are up against the nation of Islam, fired by the spirit of jihad (holy war),” he added.
Zawahiri blasted Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for being “keen to be the first to announce news (of Zarqawi’s death) to the world,” saying Maliki “trades with Islam” for power and describing Khalilzad as “the Afghan apostate.”
Not only does Maliki seek to prevent “resistance to the occupier,” but “he fought the mujahedeen (holy warriors) under Bush’s crusader banner,” Zawahiri said.
Zarqawi “died under bombardment” and not in hiding, and never shed his “explosives belt,” said Zawahiri, who was shown flanked by a machinegun in the footage aired by the Qatar-based news channel.
“Abu Musab, God rest his soul, died under bombardment, and was not hiding in fortified trenches or flying in his airplane for hours as Bush did … Abu Musab, God rest his soul, died without ever parting with his explosives belt, and did not live like Bush who does not part with his (bullet-)proof vest,” said Zawahiri.
Zawahiri urged anti-US fighters in Iraq to keep up the insurgency.
“If you are fighting for the sake of God and in defense of the people of His prophet, do not lay down your arms until God gives you victory or martyrdom,” he said.
A picture of Zarqawi appeared behind him with the inscription “Martyr of the (Islamic) nation and emir of martyrdom-seekers.”
Zawahiri’s previous videotape, in which he urged the people of Afghanistan to fight foreign forces, had been posted on the Internet as recently as Thursday.
Al Jazeera aired another video of Zawahiri just two days after Zarqawi was killed in a US air strike on a safehouse north of Baghdad, but it had apparently been recorded before Zarqawi’s death.