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Al Qaeda wife sends childcare message

The message purportedly came from the wife of Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The message purportedly came from the wife of Ayman al-Zawahiri.
  • Omaima Hassan Ahmad Mohammad Hassad is wife of Ayman al-Zawahiri
  • Purported message says women should not fight, but encourage their children
  • Message from woman would be unusual move for al Qaeda, CNN analyst says

(CNN) -- The wife of al Qaeda's second-in-command has purportedly issued a message urging women to raise their children to love holy war and defend Muslim lands.

The message from Omaima Hassan Ahmad Mohammad Hassad, wife of Osama bin Laden advisor Ayman al-Zawahiri, said that since women could not fight, they should dedicate themselves to so-called holy warriors, or mujahedeen.

"I ask you to raise your children to obey Allah and love jihad [holy war] and to defend the Muslim lands," she said, in a message released by As-Sahab Media -- al Qaeda's production company.

"Fighting is not easy for women because they need a male guardian by their side. ... But we can place ourselves in service of the mujahedeen and do what they ask of us. We can help by supporting warriors with money or information or even by a martyrdom operation."

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the document, which appeared on multiple radical Islamist Web sites.

Hassan also asked that Allah grant her and her Muslim sisters "patience and persistence until death," especially in the Palestinian Authority, and in Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Somalia.

CNN's senior editor for Middle East affairs, Octavia Nasr, said it is not a usual practice for women linked to al Qaeda to release messages.

"It signals that al Qaeda seems to be aggressively reaching out to the female population, whereas in the past their focus was mainly on men," she said.