The Al Qaida announcement, posted on Web sites, said Zawahiri would
continue the war against the West and its Muslim allies, Middle East Newsline reported. The group cited the
Islamic insurgencies in Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa.
"We encourage the people of Islam to rise up and continue the struggle,
persistence and devotion until all the corrupt and oppressive regimes
imposed by the West are gone," Al Qaida said.
Zawahiri, who turns 60 on June 19, has been Al Qaida's No. 2 figure
for about 15 years. A physician by profession, Zawahiri served as an
officer in the Egyptian Army before he fled the country amid a crackdown on
the Islamic opposition.
"Al Qaida will continue the jihad against the United States and Israel,"
The United States has determined that Al Qaida could be planning to
assassinate prominent Americans as well as senior officials. The FBI has
notified these individuals that their names had been posted on at least one
Al Qaida-aligned website as future targets.
Western intelligence analysts said Zawahiri could increase Al Qaida
resources in destabilizing the Levant and North Africa. Under bin Laden, a
Saudi national, Al Qaida focused on such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan
"Today, praise God, America is not facing an individual, a group or a
faction," Zawahiri said. "It is facing a nation than is in revolt, having
risen from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad."