Amid presidential elections, al-Qaida leader urges Egypt to cancel treaty with Israel
Calling the late president Anwar Sadat a traitor, Ayman al-Zawahri praises Sinai militants who blew up gas-pipeline to Israel; says military council takes orders from the U.S.
Al-Qaida's leader has urged Egypt to cancel its peace treaty with Israel and to establish Islamic rule, according to an audio message released Sunday.
He said the goal was to stop Israel from turning Jerusalem into a Jewish city.
Ayman al-Zawahri, an Egyptian, issued his 10th message to Egypt since taking over al-Qaida's leadership after founder Osama bin Laden was killed in an American raid in Pakistan last year.
His 47-minute audio recording was posted on jihadi websites.
"The continued crimes of the Zionists reveal the truth that these crimes could not have reached this level without taking Egypt out of the battlefield by the peace treaty signed by (late president Anwar) Sadat, the traitor," he said.
He said, "if we want to confront the Judaization of Jerusalem, there is no way other than applying the Shariah (Islamic) laws, exerting pressure on Israel and ending the treaty."
Egypt and Israel signed their peace treaty in 1979.
The fate of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive and difficult issues in Israel-Palestinian peace efforts. Israel claims the whole city, while Palestinians want the eastern part, including its holy sites, for the capital of the state they hope to create.
Al-Zawahri charged that Egypt's ruling military council takes orders from the United States.
He said the United States helped its citizens flee Egypt after they were accused of being involved in illegal activities with groups that received money from foreign sources.
"This is a clear proof of the military council's subordination to the American wishes," he said. The case, involving pro-democracy groups working in Egypt, caused a severe rift in U.S.-Egypt relations.
Egypt's military took over last year after longtime leader Hosni Mubarak resigned in the wake of a popular uprising.
Al-Zawahri called on the Islamic movements to unite against what he described as "the secular American schemes that only seeks evil for Egypt."
He also praised militants in Egypt's Sinai desert who repeatedly blew up Egypt's pipeline carrying gas to Israel.
In April, after the 14th attack on the pipeline since Mubarak resigned, Egypt canceled its natural gas contract with Israel, saying the company delivering the gas to Israel failed to pay for it. The Israeli company has sued for breach of contract. The 20-year agreement was signed in 2005.
Also in the message, al-Zawahri denounced Pakistan's demolishing bin Laden's house to prevent it from becoming a shrine.
Al-Zawahri said demolishing the house reflected the Americans' "horror and fear of the Sheik (bin Laden), whether he is alive or dead."