Qaida No. 2: Hezbollah started rumor that Israel planned 9/11[al-qaeda]Published 00:00 22.04.08
Osama bin Laden's deputy Al-Zawahri on Tuesday accused Hezbollah's Al-Manar television of starting a conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the 2001 suicide airplane hijacking against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"The purpose of this lie is clear - [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said in a lengthy audiotape posted on an Islamic web site.
The tape could not be immediately confirmed as authentic, but the voice sounded like past audiotapes from the terror leader.
With reference to Hamas' apparent readiness to agree to a peace agreement with Israel, pending a referendum, Al-Zawahri expressed scathing criticism, branding it was a violation of Islamic law.
"As for peace agreements with Israel, they [Hamas] spoke of putting it to a referendum despite considering it a breach of the Sharia [Islamic law]," Al-Zawahri said.
"How can they put a matter that violates Sharia to a referendum?" he added in the message, the second in a two-part series to answer about 100 questions put to him via online militant forums.
Al-Zawahri also called on Sunni militants in Lebanon to attack UN peacekeepers, whom he labeled "the invading Crusaders who pretend to be peacekeeping forces in Lebanon and not to accept resolution 1701."
The Al-Qaida leader was referring to the UN resolution that ended Second Lebanon War between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. A 13,500-strong UN force, known as UNIFIL, monitors the truce in southern Lebanon.
"The road is long but they have to break the siege imposed on them and to shove their way to Palestine," al-Zawahri said, referring to militants in Lebanon.
Lebanese Sports Minister Ahmed Fatfat told Al-Arabiya television that al-Zawahri's comments were "very dangerous and a bad omen for the Lebanese."
In the message, Zawahri also warned that Al-Qaida still has plans to target Western countries involved in the Iraq war.
Asked by one of his followers if the terror group still had plans to attack Western countries that participated in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and subsequent war, al-Zawahri said "my answer is: Yes! We think that any country joined aggression on Muslims must be deterred."
Asked if there are any women in Al-Qaida, the terror leader answered simply "no."
The tape Tuesday was the second time that al-Zawahri has answered the more than 900 questions submitted on extremist Internet sites by Al-Qaida supporters, critics and journalists in December.
In a first response earlier this month, al-Zawahri rejected the criticism of attacks by the terror network's followers, which have killed thousands, and maintained that the group does not kill innocent people.
Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington in 2001, while its affiliates in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria regularly set off bombs in crowded urban areas that have taken thousands of lives.
In another answer Tuesday, al-Zawahri said it was against Islamic religious law for any Muslim to live permanently in a Western country because in doing so they would have permanent stay there under the laws of the infidels.
Al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, announced in December that al-Zawahri would take questions from the public posted on Islamic militant Web sites and would respond as soon as possible.
Queries were submitted on the main Islamist Web site until the cutoff date of Jan. 16. After the deadline, the questions disappeared from the site.
According to the questions, self-proclaimed Al-Qaida supporters appeared to be as much in the dark about the terror network's operations and intentions as Western analysts and intelligence agencies.
The questioners appeared uncertain whether Al-Qaida's central leadership directly controls the multiple, small militant groups around the Middle East that work in its name, or whether those groups operate on their own.
Some asked if Al-Qaida had a long-term strategy, while others wanted advice about conducting Islamic holy war.