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Key al Qaeda operative praises bin Laden in new video

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Zawahiri releases taped message
  • A new video featuring Ayman al-Zawahiri has been released on several Islamist websites
  • The video is the first message released featuring al-Zawahiri since bin Laden's death
  • Al-Zawahiri was second in command of al Qaeda under bin Laden
  • He eulogizes bin Laden in the video and calls the Arab Spring uprisings a disaster for America

(CNN) -- A new video message was released Wednesday from key al Qaeda figure Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man who was once second in command of the organization under Osama bin Laden.

The message is the first released from al-Zawahiri since bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALs at the beginning of May.

The nearly half-hour video, displayed on several radical Islamist websites, includes a poem eulogizing bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri says in the video that the former al Qaeda leader "went to his God martyred because he said no to America."

Al-Zawahiri questions the U.S. assertion that bin Laden was buried at sea in strict accordance with Islamic tradition.

"What kind of Islam are they talking about?" he asks. "Is it America's Islam or the Islam version of (President Barack) Obama who sold off his father's faith?"

Al-Zawahiri also criticizes the "treacherous" Pakistani government, and warns that America is "not facing individuals or groups, but an entire (Islamic nation that) rose from the ashes in a Jihadi awakening to face its oppressors."

He calls the political uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa -- the so-called Arab Spring -- a "catastrophe" for the United States.

Obama, in contrast, has characterized the uprisings a rebuttal of an extreme al Qaeda ideology.