Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Wednesday on Muslims to attack US, European, Israeli and Russian targets in a speech on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by the militant group, the 68-year-old al-Zawahri also criticises backtrackers from jihad, referring to former jihadis who changed their views in prison and called the 9/11 attacks unacceptable because innocent civilians were harmed.
If you want Jihad to be focused solely on military targets, the American military has presence all over the world, from the East to the West, he said. Your countries are littered with American bases, with all the infidels therein and the corruption they spread.
The coordinated Al Qaeda hijackings on Sept 11, 2001 killed nearly 3,000 people, when airliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and another crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Al-Zawahris speech was recorded in a 33-minute, 28-second video produced by the groups as-Sahab Media Foundation.
As an indicator of when the speech may have been recorded, al-Zawahri references US President Donald Trumps recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, which was announced on March 25. He calls on Palestinians to seek martyrdom by attacking Israelis with a suicide vest in response.
Over recent years, Al Qaeda has been engaged in fending off competition in jihadi circles from its rival, the Islamic State group. IS exploded into prominence by seizing large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014, declaring a caliphate and extending affiliates in multiple countries across the region.