Al Qaeda’s second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri has surfaced again, this time threatening more attacks against the U.S. and the West.
“Oh American people. We offered you a peace plan, and mutual benefit; but your governments were proud and haughty, and so the attacks against you followed one after another, everywhere from Indonesia to Times Square, by way of Madrid and London. And the attacks are ongoing, and more will come one after another,” said Zawahiri, according to a transcript provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, based in Washington, DC.
Zawahiri also continued his promise of near victory in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other issues.
Former White House national security official Richard Clarke, now an ABC News consultant, said that up until this point, there haven’t been any correlations between Zawahiri’s past threats and any attacks actually occurring.
“U.S. government and counterterrorism officials are not going to increase their alert based on Zawahiri’s statement, because of his previous track record,” Clarke said. “But they’re on relatively high alert already because of the increase in homegrown terrorist threats related to al Qaeda.”
The 47-minute audio message, a eulogy for Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, was posted on jihadist websites July 27 by al Qaeda’s media arm Al-Sahab.
Yazid, who was referred to by American officials as al Qaeda’s No. 3 leader behind Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri, is believed to have been killed in the last half of May by an American missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas. He was of Egyptian descent and was considered a top financial officer and al Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan.
Zawahiri was last heard from July 19, when an audio recording produced by Al-Sahab and posted on jihadist websites promised imminent victory in Afghanistan. He has released only a handful of videos this year, and terrorism experts believe the two messages released this month were likely transported out at the same time.
Also on July 19, an audio message from radical Muslim cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki was posted online, taunting President Obama and the U.S. military.
“Imperial hubris is leading America to its fate: a war of attrition, a continuous hemorrhage that would end with the fall and splintering of the United States of America,” Awlaki said in the message, which featured a picture of him juxtaposed with those of Fort Hood massacre suspect Major Nidal Hasan and suspected Christmas Day bomber Omar Farouq Abdulmutallab.
Awlaki, who is American born and educated, also called on Muslims in the U.S. to do as he did in waging jihad against America. He has been on the run since late last year when he was linked with both Hassan and Abdulmutallab.
Awlaki is believed to be hiding in Yemen. U.S. officials have told ABC News and other news agencies that President Obama approved efforts to target Awlaki with a missile strike there.