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Zawahiri Releases First Video in 2008

Posted: March 3, 2008

In a video posted on a Web site commonly used by Islamic militants, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s second in command, threatens that Al Qaeda will take revenge on America for killing one of their top chiefs.


The video, posted on February 27, 2008, confirms the death of Abu al-Layth al-Libi, who was killed by a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan on January 29, 2008.  Libi appeared in a number of Al Qaeda videos and is believed to have been behind a suicide bombing at the American military base in Bagram that killed 23 people in February 2007.  The attack was carried out while Vice President Dick Cheney was visiting.


Zawahiri was featured in the video congratulating his Muslim brothers “on the martyrdom of our brother, the lion and commander Abu al-Layth al-Libi, may Allah have mercy on him.”  He also warned Americans that “no chief of ours has died a natural death, nor has our blood been spilled without a response.” He added that another chief will be appointed to take Libi’s place.


Zawahiri also announced that he has written a new book, titled Exoneration: A Letter Exonerating the Ummah of the Pen and Sword from the Unjust Allegation of Feebleness and Weakness.  The 212-page book, released on militant jihadi Web sites on March 2, 2008, reportedly criticizes statements made by jailed militants who have renounced violence.  Zawahiri writes, “It serves the interests of the Crusader-Zionist alliance with the Arab leaders to drug the mujahideen and drag them away from the confrontation.”


In the book, which was published by Al Qaeda’s media wing Al Sahab, Zawahiri reportedly wrote, “The crime of Al Qaeda and the mujahideen is that they have faced the Americans, the Jews and the agents…”


Zawahiri’s video, which includes English subtitles, is his first of 2008.

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2008 Anti-Defamation League