Skip to main content
U.S. Edition

Al Qaeda's No. 2 taunts U.S. in new video

Tape seems to prove al-Zawahiri survived missile attack

Ayman al-Zawahiri mentioned a video from Osama bin Laden that was broadcast earlier this month.


What's al Qaeda up to?
On the run
Hiding and plotting
Ready to strike
or View Results


Osama Bin Laden
Ayman Al- Zawahiri

(CNN) -- Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, appeared in a new video Monday, saying he is alive and well just weeks after a U.S. missile strike targeted him in Pakistan.

He also called President Bush a "loser" and the "butcher of Washington."

"I will meet my death when God wishes," al-Zawahiri said in the three-and-a-half minute video, which was broadcast on the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera. (Watch how truce talk clues in viewers on the video's film date -- 2:41)

Al-Zawahiri taunted the U.S. president, saying, "Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses, enjoying their care with God's blessings and sharing with them their holy war against you until we defeat you." (Transcript)

Al-Zawahiri specifically referred to an attack that was aimed at killing him January 13 in the remote Pakistan village of Damadola.

"Their claim was to target this poor man and four of my brothers," al-Zawahiri said. "The whole world discovered the lies as the Americans fight Islam and the Muslims."

Warning to Musharraf

Eighteen people were killed in the CIA-led attack, which prompted large-scale protests across Pakistan.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who al-Zawahiri also blamed for the attack, has said he believed about five or six al Qaeda operatives were killed in the attack, but he also condemned the strike as a "violation of sovereignty." (Full story)

Al-Zawahiri did not say if any al Qaeda members died in the attack. He also did not say if he was nearby or if he had plans to be at the homes that were targeted, as some reports have indicated.

"My first message is to the butcher of Washington, Bush: You are not just defeated and lying about it, but you are, with God's help, a loser," he said. "You are bad luck to your people; you brought them disasters and catastrophes, and you will bring them even more disasters."

Reacting to the tape, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN, "We have the al Qaeda leaders on the run and under a lot of pressure.

"Al Qaeda is a dangerous and determined enemy, and want to strike us again. And that's why we pursue their leaders and why we disrupt their plots, and will continue to do so."

The CIA conducted an analysis of the tape and concluded it is indeed al-Zawahiri on the video, according to a CIA spokesman.

A U.S. counterterrorism official said a tape like this was "fully expected" after al-Zawahiri survived the assassination attempt.

The official said it is believed that the goal of the tape is to "provide reassurance to the al Qaeda rank and file that he really did survive."

Al-Jazeera said Monday that the original tape it received contained 10 messages from al-Zawahiri. The network said there was one message for Bush specifically: an invitation to join Islam.

Al-Jazeera said al-Zawahiri told Bush that if he were to become a Muslim, he would then be a "brother," and be forgiven.

The network also said al-Zawahiri warned Musharraf of the consequences of allying himself with the United States and told him there would be repercussions if he continued his support of Washington.

'To the American mother ... to the British wife ...'

The bespectacled al-Zawahiri is wearing a white turban with white traditional Muslim garments in the video, which is set against a black backdrop. The video also bears the logo of As-Sahab, al Qaeda's media production house.

Indicating a relatively swift turnaround time for the tape, it makes reference to an audiotape from bin Laden that surfaced January 19. In that tape, bin Laden offered the United States a truce, which was flatly rejected, and said it is "only a matter of time" before America is attacked again. (Full story)

"The lion of Islam, Sheik Osama bin Laden, offered you a decent exit from your dilemma, but your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and, God willing, on your own land," al-Zawahiri said.

"To the American mother I say, if the defense ministry called you to tell you your son is coming back home in a coffin, remember Bush," al-Zawahiri said.

"To the British wife I say, if you got a call telling you your husband is coming back home with his body charred, remember [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair."

Osama bin Laden's top deputy was last seen in a video broadcast by Al-Jazeera on January 6. (Full story)

On January 20, al-Zawahiri recited poetry to jihadists on a 17-minute audiotape that was posted on the Internet. (Full story)

Al-Zawahiri -- an Egyptian exile who has served as bin Laden's personal doctor -- has a $25 million reward posted for his head in connection with the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

CNN's David Ensor contributed to this report.

Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines