Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri urged Muslims to fight the United States and its allies around the world and hailed the operations of Islamists in a new video released on Thursday.
In a video made to mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Zawahri said: "Stand, o nation of Islam under the victorious banner of the Prophet ... and campaign against the crusader banner of (U.S. President George W.) Bush.
"Go forth ... to the mujahideen, bear them arms, back them, defend them and don't be intimidated by the power of America for these two blessed attacks have revealed that it is a power of iron and fire, with no faith or morals or principle."
Zawahri, who praised the actions of al Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Afghanistan, north Africa, Somalia, Chechnya and Iraq, called on Pakistanis to avenge the killing of a prominent cleric sympathetic to Afghanistan's Taliban in July. "Let the Pakistani army know that the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his students and the demolition of his mosque and two madrasas have soaked the history of the Pakistani army in shame ... which can only be washed away by retaliation against the killers of Abdul Rashid Ghazi and his students."
Zawahri also called on Muslims in Sudan to fight a force of African Union and U.N. peacekeepers set to deploy to the Western region of Darfur, saying that Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had abandoned his Muslim brothers and no longer deserved their protection. "The ... mujahideen sons ... must organise jihad against the forces invading Darfur as their brothers organised the jihadi resistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia," he said.
"My Muslim nation, today, we must be united and all Islamic movements must gather round the creed of ... jihad, repelling the Zionist-crusader enemy and striving against him and his aides," Zawahri said.