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Iraq Transition

Al-Zawahiri praises insurgents in video

Al Qaeda No. 2 also tells Pakistanis to oust their president

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Al Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri calls for the overthrow of the Pakistani president in this image from the video.

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Al Qaeda
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Ayman al-Zawahiri

(CNN) -- Insurgents have "broken the back" of the U.S. in Iraq, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant claims in a new video that surfaced on the Internet on Friday.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second-in-command, praises the fighters in Iraq and also urges Pakistanis to topple their president, whom he calls a "bribe-taking, treacherous criminal," in the tape.

He begins the 15-minute speech, titled "A Message to the People of Pakistan," with a reference to last month's three-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

He says al Qaeda operatives in Iraq have perpetrated "800 martyrdom operations in three years, besides the sacrifices of the other mujahedeen, and this is what has broken the back of America in Iraq." (Watch as CNN's Nic Robertson analyzes this latest video -- 1:28)

He adds, "We praise Allah that three years after the Crusader invasion of Iraq, America, Britain and their allies have achieved nothing but losses, disaster and misfortunes."

Al-Zawahiri appears to be encouraging the Pakistani people to follow the lead of the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, telling them to stand up against "the Zionist-Crusader assault" on Muslims and overthrow Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Al-Zawahiri calls Musharraf a "traitor" who placed the country's nuclear program under the supervision of the U.S. government.

"I call on them to strive in earnest to topple this bribe-taking, treacherous criminal, and to back their brothers in the mujahedeen in Afghanistan with everything they've got," al-Zawahiri said.

The video is the third taped message so far this year from the Egyptian-born doctor.

He and bin Laden are believed to be hiding in the mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is not known if they are together.

In January, al-Zawahiri was targeted by a U.S. missile strike about a week after a videotape from him surfaced. The strike on Damadola, a remote Pakistani village, killed 18 people, but al-Zawahiri survived.

He issued another tape about two weeks after the attack in which he taunted President Bush for not being able to find him.

CNN's Octavia Nasr and Henry Schuster contributed to this report.

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