CAIRO, Egypt – Al Qaeda on Thursday promised to issue a message by its number two leader about the hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon soon, according to an Islamist Web site. It would be the group's first comments on the fighting that began a month ago.
Ayman al-Zawahiri will weigh in on "The Zionist-Crusader Aggression on Gaza and Lebanon," declared the flashing red banner that appeared on the site that Islamists frequently use.
Al-Zawahri's picture flashed alternating with photos of smoke billowing up from behind mosques, apparently showing the devastation of the last month. The logo of Al Qaeda's media production wing, Al-Sahab appeared on the banner that proclaimed the message would appear "Soon, God willing."
Israel began an offensive on Gaza days after Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier on June 25. It opened a second front in Lebanon after Hezbollah guerillas abducted two Israeli soldiers on July 12.
The message would be al-Zawahri's tenth in an active year for the terror network whose chief, Osama bin Laden, has issued five messages.
The teaser was first reported by SITE, an U.S.-based independent group that provides counter-terrorism information to the U.S. government and media. Several messages this year have been preceded by announcements on militant Web sites.
Top Al Qaeda leaders paid tribute in June to the slain leader of their Iraq network, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in separate video recordings. Many of their messages this year have dealt with current events, treating armed campaigns by militants in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Al-Zawhari, who is Egyptian, has also discussed political developments in his homeland, the Palestinian territories and Sudan.