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Zawahiri Threatens Revenge for Israeli Attacks


Al-Qaida's number two leader has vowed revenge for Israel's attacks in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

In a taped message broadcast by al-Jazeera Arabic television on Thursday, Ayman al-Zawahiri said the terrorist network will not remain silent while Israeli bombardments, in his words, "burn our brothers."

He called on Muslims to rise up and become martyrs in a worldwide Jihad against Israel and what he called the crusader coalition. Al-Qaida uses the word "crusader" to refer to Israel's western supporters, including the United States.

Reacting to the tape, President Bush said he was not surprised at Zawahiri's comments. He said al-Qaida's goal is to kill innocent civilians, while the United States is trying to promote democracy.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian, called Arab nations impotent and treacherous, referring to their muted response to Israel's military campaigns.

A photograph on the wall behind Zawahiri showed the World Trade Center towers, attacked in September 2001, in flames.

This message from Osama bin Laden's deputy is the first from al-Qaida since Israel's Lebanon campaign began on July 12th. It is an indication that al-Qaida, which is made up of Sunni Muslim extremists, is prepared to set aside sectarian differences and help the Shi'ite Hezbollah movement.

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