CAIRO, Egypt – A key Al Qaeda spokesman has made a new threat to attack American targets and urged Muslims the world over to "kill enemies of God everywhere."
"Al Qaeda will organize more attacks inside American territory and outside, at the moment we choose, at the place we choose and with the objectives that we want," Al Qaeda's chief spokesman, Kuwaiti-born Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, said in an audio recording aired by an Islamic website believed to be close to the terror network blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks.
"We are coming back, God willing, from where you cannot expect us," said Abu Ghaith in the interview broadcast on www.jehad.net.
The new targets, he said, will be "American and Jewish ... our arrogant enemies."
There is no way to verify the authenticity of Abu Ghaith's interview, but U.S. officials said two weeks ago that a recent audio recording by him in which he claimed that Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden was still alive appeared to be legitimate. Government analysts matched the sound of his voice to previous recordings.
The recording, played on the website Wednesday, appeared to be the same voice.
Abu Ghaith interview on www.jehad.net. is the latest in a series of contacts between al-Qaida and the outside world after weeks of silence. These contacts were made on Islamic-militant oriented web sites whose availability on the Internet has been irregular.
The string of statements coincide with evidence Al Qaeda remains capable of planning attacks. Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it was holding 11 Saudis, an Iraqi and a Sudanese man belonging to a failed plot to shoot down a U.S. military plane taking off from a Saudi air base.
News of the Saudi arrests followed detentions in Morocco of three Saudis who were planning to attack U.S. and British warships in the Straits of Gibraltar.
Referring to the war in Afghanistan that followed the Sept. attacks, Abu Ghaith said in the latest interview that the U.S.-led military campaign has failed to crush the fighters of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, claiming that it has instead destroyed Afghan villages and towns.
He said Al Qaeda operatives were currently carrying out surveillance operations to pick up new targets.
"Has our battle with America ended? It never ended and will never end because it is not a personal battle but rather a battle between right and wrong ... it is a struggle between good and evil," he said.
"America is the head of evil," he added.
Abu Ghaith said bin Laden and most of his top aides were unharmed. "I can assure you that 98 per cent of them are well and fine." He also promised, without giving details, that the Saudi-born bin Laden will "soon" appear in a a television interview.
"We are living in an age when the enemies of God have successfully killed the spirit of resistance and manhood in Muslims by undermining the Islamic creed," he lamented.
"My message to the Muslim youth is that Al Qaeda fighters are not the only ones meant to fight Jews ... it is a duty on all Muslims to rise and defend their religion."
Excerpts from the interview were published Tuesday by Algeria's Arabic daily El Youm.
In another purported Al Qaeda statement on the same website, another Al Qaeda spokesman, identified as Abu Laith al-Libi, warned that Al Qaeda was "preparing for a coming period ... of guerrilla war."
"We have started changing the war to attacks and assassinations and we have succeeded in that with God's help," al-Libi said without elaborating in the interview, excerpts of which were broadcast by the Middle East Broadcast Center late Tuesday.
There was no way to verify the authenticity of al-Libi's statement either.