Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri calls for Pakistanis to support jihad in his first ever audio statement in English, which aired today on a Pakistani television station, according to IntelCenter, a Washington-based firm that tracks terrorism.
Zawahiri says in the message that he uses English because he wants to speak directly to the Pakistani people, according to IntelCenter, and he cannot speak Urdu, the predominant language spoken there.
In the new message, Zawahiri lists a litany of grievances against the Pakistani government and U.S. involvement there. He also relates his own personal experiences living in Pakistan, according to IntelCenter.
This is the second message from Zawahiri that ARY One World in Pakistan has aired in just over a month, and has so far not been available anywhere else on the web, according to sources that track jihadi videos. The messages were released by as-Sahab, al Qaeda's production company.
ARY aired Zawahiri's last message in a video on July 4, 2008, according to IntelCenter, and released another audio message in a video released on June 4, 2008, entitled, "In Memory of the Naksa...Break the Siege of Gaza." The video contained an audio statement from Zawahiri and showed an old still photo of him. Zawahiri was seen in a video on February 27, 2008 entitled, "An Elegy to the Martyred Commander Abu Laith al-Libi," according to IntelCenter.
Zawahiri has been indicted for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.
The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
Zawahiri is a physician and the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). This organization opposes the secular Egyptian Government and seeks its overthrow through violent means. In approximately 1998, the EIJ led by Zawahiri merged with Al Qaeda, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.