Al-Qaida leader urges Muslims to wage holy war against U.S., Israel

| Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 6:54 p.m.

The leader of al-Qaida on Saturday urged Muslims to wage holy war against the United States and Israel over a film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

Ayman al-Zawahri praised as “honest and zealous” demonstrators who breached the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in violence linked to the film and attackers who stormed the U.S. “embassy” in Benghazi, now believed to have been carried out by al-Qaida-linked terrorists. Four Americans were killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city.

The amateur film “Innocence of Muslims” was made by an Egyptian-born American citizen.

In an audio message released by al-Qaida's media arm As-Sahab and posted on terror websites early Saturday, al-Zawahri claimed Washington allowed the film's production under the pretext of freedom of expression, “but this freedom did not prevent them from torturing Muslim prisoners.”

It was not clear what prisoners al-Zawahri meant.

The video was produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a California-based Egyptian-American angry at the treatment of Coptic Christians in his homeland. It triggered mayhem across the Muslim world after it was uploaded to YouTube. At least 17 people were killed in violent protests.

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