In a 28-minute videotaped eulogy to the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, who is considered the network’s operational head, also sought to cast a role for the terror group in the popular uprisings shaking Arab world.
“Today, praise God, America is not facing an individual, a group or a faction,” he said, wearing a white robe and turban with an assault rifle leaned on a wall behind him. “It is facing a nation than is in revolt, having risen from its lethargy to a renaissance of jihad.”
Al-Zawahri also heaped praise on bin Laden, who was killed in the May 2 raid by US Navy SEALs in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. Al-Zawahri, who is believed to be operating from somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, also criticised the US for burying bin Laden at sea.
“He went to his God as a martyr, the man who terrified American while alive and terrifies it in death, so much so that they trembled at the idea of his having tomb” he said.
Al-Zawahri – who referenced the toppling of rulers in Tunisia and Egypt and continued uprisings in Libya, Yemen and Syria – tried to link recent developments to his group’s longtime goal: to destroy America and its allies. He said America now faces the international Muslim community
“Our brothers who are working in Islam in all places, I tell you that our hands are extended to you and our hearts are open to you, so that we can work together to make Allah’s word the highest and to make Islamic law in Muslim lands the ruler, not the ruled,” he said in a video released on militant websites.