An intelligence monitoring center reports that Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader is blaming Barack Obama and Egypt's president for the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

The SITE Monitoring Service says the audio statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri was posted on militant Web sites Tuesday.

This is al-Zawahiri's first comment on the crisis since the war began eleven days ago.

In a transcript of the statement released by SITE, he calls the Israeli offensive a "Crusade against Islam and Muslims" and "Obama's gift to Israel" before he takes office.

Al-Zawahiri also calls Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, a "traitor" for keeping his borders closed to Palestinians.