Al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden is still alive and leading a holy war against the West, the network's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri says in an Internet video.
"Al Qaeda for holy war is still, thanks to God, a base for jihad," Zawahri said in a video posted on a website frequently used by Islamists groups. "Its prince Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, is still leading its jihad."
Zawahri says Al Qaeda is spreading and expanding. "(Al Qaeda) has transformed into a popular organisation confronting a new crusader Zionist campaign, in defence of all violated Muslim lands," he said.
The interview is to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the USA.
Zawahri added the new "crusader" campaign by the United States and its Western allies was failing as evident by U.S. losses in Afghanistan and Iraq. "America and its crusader allies have not achieved anything. Its forces in the battleground are receiving blows each day."
He also slammed the Iraqi government. "The (Iraqi) government is begging Americans not to leave because they know the day Americans leave is the day they are finished."