CAIRO – Al-Qaida's leader has urged Islamists in Egypt to unite under the banner of religion to rid the country of the rule of the military, saying it is fighting a war against Islam.
In a 17-minute video posted on the Internet Friday, Ayman al-Zawahri blasts the Egyptian military, saying it has colluded with the United States, Israel, secular movements and Christians against Islam.
Since the military's July 3 ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the military-backed government has cracked down on Morsi's supporters and battled Islamic militants waging an intensified campaign of violence.
Al-Zawahri calls on Islamists to wage a "popular" religious uprising. In a jab at Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, al-Zawahri criticizes Islamists who "compromised" with secular groups in Egypt and Tunisia, only to end up being persecuted by them.