Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslims in a new audiotape released Monday to strike Jewish and American targets in revenge for Israel's recent offensive in the Gaza Strip.Quote has been trimmed
The al-Zawahri tape came on the heels of a message from Osama bin Laden, who called for a holy war to liberate the Palestinian territories. Together, the two messages appeared to be a more direct push by al-Qaeda's leadership to use widespread anger over the Gaza violence to whip up support.
Bin Laden and al-Zawahri have frequently referred to the Palestinian cause in their past messages, but usually in broader terms of liberating Jerusalem and denouncing Israeli violence. Their latest calls for attacks, however, had a more immediate and urgent tone.
The string of messages has raised concerns that al-Qaeda could be planning new attacks in the West — or is seeking to inspire its sympathizers to carry out violence. In another message last week, bin Laden warned of a "severe" reaction against Europe after Danish papers published a cartoon seen as insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
The authenticity of the four-minute, 44-second audiotape could not be independently confirmed. But the voice on it resembled that of al-Zawahri on previous audio and videotapes confirmed to be his. It was posted on an Islamic militant website where al-Qaeda usually releases its statements, and a banner advertising the tape...