Top Al Qaeda Leader Surfaces in Web Video

One of al Qaeda's top leaders, Abu Yahya al Libi, surfaced in an online video Tuesday. The video, which appeared several weeks after its apparent intended release date, showed al Libi giving a lengthy sermon commemorating the Muslim holiday Eid Al Fitr. Muslims across the globe celebrated Eid Al Fitr the first week in October. This apparent delay reaffirms many analysts' claim that al Qaeda is struggling to release its videos online.

In most of almost 45 minutes of sermon, al Libi calls on "mujjahideen" in Muslim countries to seek God's forgiveness and shrug off laziness to defeat those who oppress Muslims. At the end of his sermon, al Libi offers a supplication, praying President Bush suffers the same fate as Pharaoh. Al Libi's mention of President Bush is not a direct reference to the US elections. While al Libi prays that God "humiliate Bush and his party," he prays that President Bush is eliminated altogether- not replaced by another candidate.

In 2004, Osama bin Laden released a video just days before the presidential election between George Bush and John Kerry. In his 2004 video, bin Laden specifically referenced the election, mentioning both Bush and Kerry by name.

As Sahab, al Qaeda's official media arm, posted the video of al Libi Tuesday. Videos from As Sahab have virtually dried up since September of this year. Intelligence sources have said the U.S. has made great progress in disrupting al Qaeda's flow of online videos, and al Qaeda's highly anticipated 9/11 video was not released until September 19.

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