Al-Qaeda Calls For Palestine Jihad
The occupied Palestinian territories will be liberated through jihad, not elections, according to a senior al-Qaeda leader. Ayman al-Zawahiri, regarded as the right-hand man to Osama bin Laden, made his comments in a video shown by Al Jazeera. In the video, al-Zawahiri said: "Any road other than jihad will only lead to loss." He also said: "Those trying to liberate the land of Islam through elections based on secular constitutions or on decisions to surrender Palestine to the Jews will not liberate a grain of sand of Palestine."
Ayman al-Zawahiri, right, is thought of as Osama bin Laden's right-hand manIt was not clear when the videotape was recorded but its release comes as tensions are rising in the Palestinian territories after small-scale clashes and a call by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, for early elections. Walid Batrawi, an Al Jazeera correspondent in Ramallah, said: "It's very hard to predict the effects of the message. It comes at a very sensitive time." Al-Zawahiri said: "Accepting the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the national authority, America's man in Palestine, and mandating the PLO which recognises Israel to negotiate with Israel is an abyss which will ultimately lead to eliminating the jihad and recognising Israel." In a previous video, marking the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001, al-Zawahiri said that the Gulf and Israel would be al-Qaeda's next targets. Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri carries a $25m US bounty for information leading to his arrest or death.