Share This Page

Al-Qaida leader tells jihadis: Attack U.S. 'on its own soil'

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 7:21 p.m.
FILE - This file image from video the AP obtained Feb. 12, 2012, from the SITE Intel Group, an American private terrorist threat analysis company, authenticated based on details in it, shows al-Qaida's leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, calling on Muslims across the Arab world and beyond to support rebels in Syria who are seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad. Al-Zawahri marked the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks by calling on Muslims to strike inside the United States, using any opportunity they can to 'bleed' America financially, speaking in an audio message released Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/SITE Intel Group, File)

CAIRO — Al-Qaida's leader on Friday marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by calling on Muslims to strike inside the United States, with big attacks or small, using any opportunity they can to “bleed” America financially.

In an audio message released two days after the 12th anniversary of the attacks, Ayman al-Zawahri said America is not a “mythic power” and that the mujahedeen — Islamic holy warriors — can defeat it with attacks “on its own soil.”

Al-Zawahri, the successor to Osama bin Laden, used the anniversary to argue that the United States can be defeated by targeting its economy. At the same time, he addressed the ongoing upheaval in the Arab world. Pointing to a power struggle going on within the rebellion against Syria's regime, he warned jihadi fighters in that country's civil war to not “compromise” with more secular or moderate rebel factions, who he said would eventually turn against the al-Qaida-linked radicals.

The message's authenticity could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on a militant website commonly used by al-Qaida.

Al-Zawahri, who is believed to be hiding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions, said al-Qaida sympathizers should stage small attacks or a “big strike” against the United States, similar to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, leaving America in “a state of tension” about when and where the next hit would come.

Small attacks could be done by only a few or even just one person, while at the same time “we must watch and wait to seize any opportunity to direct a large strike on (America), even if that takes years of patience to do it,” he said.

“We should bleed America economically by motivating it to continue its huge expenditure on its security as America's weak point is its economy, which already has begun stumbling because of the military and security expenditure,” he said. “America is not a mythic power and the Americans, after all, are humans who can be defeated, felled and punished.”

He urged the Islamic world to “abandon the dollar and replace it with a currency of other countries that are not taking part in the aggression against us.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.