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Al Qaeda's No. 2 reportedly orders defense of Palestinians

  • Story Highlights
  • Five-minute audio statement was posted on radical Islamist Web sites Sunday
  • Speaker: For every "dollar they spend" on killing Muslims, they will shed blood
  • Statement attributed to al Qaeda's No. 2 figure, Ayman al-Zawahiri
  • Message meant to support Palestinians as they continue fighting with Israel
  • Next Article in World »

(CNN) -- A new statement attributed to al Qaeda's No. 2 figure, Ayman al-Zawahiri, calls on Muslims to attack Western interests in defense of the Palestinians in Gaza.

An image of Ayman al-Zawahiri taken from an earlier videotape.

"Let us strike their interests everywhere, just as they gathered against us from everywhere, and let them know that every dollar they spend on the killing of Muslims, there will be shed blood instead in return," the speaker in the nearly five-minute statement says.

A CIA analysis of the recording strongly suggests the speaker is al-Zawahiri, an intelligence official told CNN on Monday.

The audio statement was posted on radical Islamist Web sites Sunday evening, and gave little indication when it was produced. Its release follows a similar statement last week from Osama bin Laden, who called on Muslims to rise up and "liberate" the Palestinian territory of Gaza from Israeli sanctions and raids against its Hamas-led government.

The speaker urges Muslims to take action rather than hold protests in support of the Palestinians, which he says will do no good.

"If you let the people of Gaza be killed today, while you shout and demonstrate, tomorrow the events will turn around and the Crusaders and the Jews will kill you instead, and others will do nothing but shout back and demonstrate," he says.

Hamas, an Islamic party considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and the European Union, seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority's ruling Fatah party in 2007.

Israeli troops have restricted supplies and power to Gaza and conducted periodic airstrikes and raids in an effort to halt the near-daily firings of Palestinian rockets into southern Israel since then.

The statement from al-Zawahiri, who led an Egyptian Islamic militant group that joined forces with bin Laden in the 1990s, also criticized the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for cooperating with the Israeli effort to sanction Hamas.

"The plot was well-planned against Gaza. The bombs of the Jews are over the heads of its people, the Israeli tanks are aiming at their chests and the Egyptian borders guards and security officers are aiming at their backs, preventing any kind of supplies to them, narrowing the routes to their food supplies and medication, preventing help to reach them and prohibiting them from evacuating their injured and protecting their families, locking them down from the south and the west so that the Jews take their full opportunity to kill and imprison whoever they wish and to destroy whatever they want," the speaker says. E-mail to a friend

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