Al-Qaida Leader Calls for Jihad on Eve of U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Ayman al-Zawahri says in video message that Tel Aviv is also Muslim land, blasts Palestinian Authority as 'sellers of Palestine'

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Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, June 6, 2013
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, June 6, 2013Credit: -/AFP

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri released a video on Sunday addressing the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, calling on Muslims to wage jihad against the U.S..

In a five-minute video entitled “Tel Aviv is also a land of Muslims,” the Egyptian doctor who took charge of the global terror group after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, referred to the Palestinian Authority as the “sellers of Palestine” while urging followers to take up arms.

The U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, he said, proves that Palestinians have failed in their policy of negotiations and 'appeasement.'

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In his four-minute and 43 second message, Zawahri said all Muslim countries have effectively recognized Israel by signing the United Nations charter which calls for respecting the territorial integrity of every member state, including Israel. 

"Many have even established public or secret relations with Israel and accepted that Tel Aviv or West Jerusalem be the capital of Israel, even though it is also Muslim land that cannot be ceded to Jews," Zawahri said in the recording posted on a social media channel used by the Islamist militant group.

Zawahri's last public message was issued in February, when he called on Egyptians to topple their government ahead of presidential elections in March that gave President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi a second term in office. 

Also on Monday, the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah dismissed the U.S. decision to move the embassy as a "worthless" unilateral step. Meanwhile, the Arab League is scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday over the U.S. "illegal" move of the embassy.

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