WASHINGTON- President George W. Bush said on Thursday he was not surprised by a video from al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri exhorting Muslims to “fight and become martyrs” in response to the conflict in Lebanon.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Bush told report
ers when asked about the video after a meeting with Romanian President Traian Basescu.
“Here’s a fellow who is in a remote region of the world, putting out statements, basically encouraging people to use terrorist tactics to kill innocent people to achieve political objectives,” Bush said.
In the tape aired by Al Jazeera television, Zawahri linked the Israel-Lebanon conflict to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, countries where al Qaeda is battling Western forces.
“How can we remain silent while watching bombs raining on our people,” he asked. “Oh Muslims everywhere, I call on you to fight and become martyrs in the war against the Zionists and the Crusaders,” Zawahri said.
Asked earlier in the day about the tape, White House spokesman Tony Snow said there had been no official confirmation yet on the tape’s authenticity but added, “It certainly looked like him.” — Reuter