Zawahiri Praises Osama on New Video

By Arun Kumar

Washington, June 9 (IANS) Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has appeared in a new video praising the slain Osama bin Laden. US intelligence analysts saw it as evidence that the terror network has yet to anoint a new leader.

The video is the first recorded message from al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian who has long served as Al Qaeda's top deputy, since bin Laden was killed in an American raid in Pakistan May 2.

Zawahiri praises bin Laden in the recording as an ongoing source of inspiration for Muslims and warns the US that it will face reprisals for the his killing, the Washington Post reported.

The Post cited a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online postings by militant groups.

But US officials told the daily that they were struck by the absence of any assertion by Zawahiri that he would assume control of the terrorist network he helped found.

The new video opens with an older clip of bin Laden before switching to footage of Zawahiri speaking in front of a brown backdrop with a rifle at his side.

The nearly half-hour video, displayed on several radical Islamist websites, includes a poem eulogising bin Laden, CNN said.

Al-Zawahiri says in the video that the former Al Qaeda leader "went to his God martyred because he said no to America".

Al-Zawahiri also questions the US assertion that bin Laden was buried at sea in strict accordance with Islamic tradition.

"What kind of Islam are they talking about?" he asks. "Is it America's Islam or the Islam version of (President Barack) Obama who sold off his father's faith?"

Al-Zawahiri also criticises the "treacherous" Pakistani government, and warns that America is "not facing individuals or groups but an entire (Islamic nation that) rose from the ashes in a Jehadi awakening to face its oppressors".


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