Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri used the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to renew calls for terrorism against the United States and others.
Zawahiri made the call in a 33-minute video posted online via Al Qaeda’s media arm, Sahab Media Foundation, which was uncovered by terror monitoring group SITE Intelligence, and took aim at Muslims who had strayed from jihad, CBS News reported on Wednesday.
“If you want Jihad to be focused solely on military targets, the American military has presence all over the world, from the East to the West,” Zawahri said. “Your countries are littered with American bases, with all the infidels therein and the corruption they spread.”
“The interests of Israel and its American, British, French, Russian, and European allies are spread all over the world,” he said, according to the New York Post.
“So just as they conspire and join forces against us everywhere, we must chase them down everywhere – at a time and place of our choosing.”
Zawahiri also referred to the attacks of 9/11 as “the blessed raids,” and referenced the U.S.-Taliban peace talks and possible withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The Islamic Emirate dealt severe blows to America. This is why the Americans showed keenness to negotiate with them a withdrawal from Afghanistan,” he said.
At least 16 U.S. service members have died in combat so far this year in Afghanistan alone.
President Trump canceled a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David last weekend after the insurgent group claimed responsibility for a car bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed a U.S. special forces soldier and nine others, injuring dozens more.
One term of the deal was the withdrawal of approximately 5,000 to 6,000 U.S. service members of more than 14,000 U.S. troops currently deployed there.
Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor, took over leadership of Al Qaeda after the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden.
He made the same call for jihad last year, also on the anniversary of 9/11.
Then, he referred to the U.S. as the “number one enemy of Muslims.”