Zawahiri: Osama is 'well and healthy' (late April Fool's joke?)
Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is "healthy and well," the network's number two leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has said in an audio message today (April 3), according to a US group monitoring Islamist websites.
"Sheikh Osama bin Laden is healthy and well by the grace of Allah," Zawahiri said yesterday in the audio released by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab, according to a transcript provided by IntelCentre.
"The prejudiced ones always try to spread false information about him being ill, but even if Osama bin Laden doesn't become ill, he must die one day, whereas Allah's religion will remain until Allah inherits the Earth and everything on it," he said.
The health of Al-Qaeda's elusive leader, who is believed to be hiding somewhere in the porous border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, is the subject of widespread speculation.
Bin Laden has claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people and prompted the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Zawahiri: UN enemy of Islam
Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri has launched a blistering attack on the United
Nations calling it the enemy of Islam and Muslims in an online audiofile.
"The United Nations is an enemy of Islam and Muslims: it is the one which codified and legitimised the setting up of the state of Israel and its taking over of the Muslims' lands," Zawahiri said.
The UN had also agreed to the presence of outsiders, dubbed "Crusaders" by Zawahiri, in Afghanistan and Iraq and had approved the separation of East Timor from Indonesia.
Yet "it doesn't recognize that [right] for Chechnya, nor for all the Muslim Caucasus, nor for Kashmir, nor for Ceuta and Melilla, nor for Bosnia," he added.
The United Nations "is the one which considers Chechnya an inseparable part of Crusader Russia, and consider Ceuta and Melilla inseparable parts of Crusader Spain," he said, referring to two Spanish enclaves in North Africa claimed by Morocco.
The audio released via the monitoring group the IntelCenter was the first installment in a two-part series to answer about 100 questions put to Zawahiri, known as Al-Qaeda's ideological thinker, via online militant forums.
He grouped his replies into four sections -- the killing of innocents, Iran, Egypt and Palestine -- and denied that the Al-Qaeda network had been responsible for the loss of innocent Muslim lives.
"We haven't killed the innocents, not in Baghdad, nor in Morocco, nor in Algeria, nor anywhere else," Zawahiri said in the audio lasting one hour and 43 minutes, which marked his third public message this year.