Al-Zawahri Vows to Keep Fighting U.S.
By SALAH NASRAWI
The Associated Press
Monday, November 29, 2004; 1:59 PM
CAIRO, Egypt - In a videotape aired Monday, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant vowed to continue fighting the United States until Washington changed its policies.
In the tape aired on al-Jazeera television, Ayman Al-Zawahri spoke of the Nov. 2 U.S. presidential elections, but it was unclear from his words whether the footage was taped before or after President Bush defeated Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
"The results of the elections do not matter for us," al-Zawahri said in the three-minute excerpt. "Vote whoever you want, Bush, Kerry or the devil himself. This does not concern us. What concerns us is to purge our land from the aggressors."
Al-Zawahri also accused the United States of trying to coerce the Muslim world through force to satisfy Israel and to achieve its own interests. He said the invasion of Iraq was only a prelude to what the whole Muslim world might be subjected to by the United States.
He also addressed the American people, urging them to deal with Muslims "with respect and exchange and based on an exchange of mutual interests."
He advised the Americans to choose between one of two things: "Either you choose to treat us with respect and based on an exchange of interests ... or we will continue to fight you until you change your policies."
The bearded and bespectacled al-Zawahri sat before a white background, half-covered with a blanket. His voice sounded calm and steady, as in previous tapes.
Days before the U.S. presidential election, bin Laden said in video footage that the United States must stop threatening the security of Muslims if it wanted to avoid "another Manhattan" - referring to the Sept. 11 attacks.
While bin Laden did not directly warn of new attacks, the al-Qaida leader and Sept. 11 mastermind warned, "There are still reasons to repeat what happened."
The United States has offered a $25 million reward for the capture of bin Laden and al-Zawahri, who were believed to be hiding in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
© 2004 The Associated Press
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