Al-Zawahri calls for attacks on oil facilities

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The Independent Online

Al-Qa'ida's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, has called for attacks against oil facilities in the Gulf region and urged insurgent groups in Iraq to unite to drive out American forces in a videotape posted on the internet today.

The footage is a full version of a video by the Egyptian deputy of al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden that was issued on 19 September, excerpts of which were broadcast by Al-Jazeera television at the time. The network aired more excerpts today, saying they came from al-Zawahri's "latest" tape.

An Al-Jazeera newscaster acknowledged the mistake in a later news report, saying the network had determined it was the same tape the station had aired three months ago.

"I call on the holy warriors to concentrate their campaigns on the stolen oil of the Muslims, most of the revenues of which go to the enemies of Islam," al-Zawahri, wearing a white robe and black turban, said in the video.

"Don't let it be stolen by the thieves who rule our countries. ... The enemies of Islam are exploiting such vital resources with incomparable greed, " he said, seated before a pale blue sheet, speaking to an off-camera interviewer.

"If the thieves don't stop ... then they should be killed."

In the full version of the tape, which was posted on an Islamic website known for carrying statements from extremist groups, al-Zawahri called on Iraqi insurgent groups to unite.

"I call all mujahedeen groups to unite and work closely to achieve the coming victory" in Iraq, he said. Victory in Iraq "will have a great effect on the future of the Islamic nation, and this is the most dangerous area in the world."

The full video includes quotes from al-Zawahri on September elections in Afghanistan and on the 7 July London bombings that appeared in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera on 19 September.