A Web video of Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, surfaced Thursday and called on Muslims throughout the Middle East to wage a jihad against Ethiopian forces occupying Somalia.
"You have to use ambushes and mines, and raids and suicidal attacks until you rend and eat your prey as the lion does with his prey," al-Zawahiri declared.
The statement was part of a five-and-a-half minute video produced by the terrorist group's multimedia arm as-Sahab.
In the video titled "Set Out and Support Your Brothers in Somalia," and translated by the SITE Institute, Zawahiri is seen in a still image from a previous release, while his voice calls on Muslims everywhere — but specifically those Yemen, the Arab Peninsula, Egypt, North Africa and Sudan — to participate in a holy war against secular government forces in Somalia.
Zawahiri says Mujahideen must provide Somali Muslims with men, experience, money and advice to defeat the Ethiopian forces, which he refers to as the "slaves of America."
The message is the latest from Al Qaeda on Somalia. A July 2006 audiotape showing Usama bin Laden called upon Islamists to attack the Somali government.
U.S. Intelligence officials have concluded that all previous tapes from top Al Qaeda types have been genuine. The lastest message is another example of Zawahiri's interest and ability to speak on timely issues outside of Iraq, officials said.
Addressing the Somali Muslims directly, Zawahiri refers to the U.S. military's campaign in Somalia between 1992 and 1994, saying that America has been defeated before, and due to terrorist strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American army is relatively weaker.
Zawahiri also directly calls upon the youth of the radical Egyptian Islamic group al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya to participate in the jihad. He states that these members joined the group to obey Allah, and if they are prevented from that duty, "they must crush the sarcophagus where they were embalmed alive."
Further, Zawahiri also claim a Mujahideen victory over America in Afghanistan and Iraq, and urges patience and steadiness.