Garden gnome, Evil: $29.95. Zebibah extra.
There was no apparent discussion of who, exactly, qualifies as innocent in Zawahri's mind. He also accused Western troops of using Muslims as human shields -- actually a known tactic of jihadists themselves. For that matter, that attempt to deflect the focus from Al-Qaeda's record doesn't explain the civilians killed by suicide bombings in crowded markets, hijacked jetliners' flying into office buildings, bombing commuter busses and trains, tourists in Bali, embassy workers in Kenya and Tanzania, and so on.
"Al-Qaida No. 2 vows group will attack Jews across world," from the Jerusalem Post and Associated Press:
Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri pledged Wednesday night that the group would attack Jews in Israel and throughout the world.
In an hour-and-a half-long audio response to questions submitted to the movement on extremist Web sites, Zawahri said: "We promise our Muslim brothers that we will do the best we can to harm Jews in Israel and the world over, with Allah's help and according to his command," he said.
Zawahri reassured many of the questioners, who seemed worried about the direction of the organization, that the global jihad was on track and would soon expand elsewhere.
"I expect the Jihadi influence to spread after the Americans' exit from Iraq, and to move towards Jerusalem," he said to those asking when attacks on Israel would take place.
Zawahri also slammed the UN for "assisting the establishment of Israel," calling the organization an "enemy of Islam."
The audio message, which was accompanied by a 46-page English transcript, was the first installment of answers to a raft of online questions and focused mainly on future al-Qaida efforts elsewhere in the region, particularly Egypt.
Zawahri responded to criticism about Al-Qaida's notoriously brutal tactics, maintaining that it does not kill innocents. "We haven't killed the innocents, not in Baghdad nor in Morocco, nor in Algeria, nor anywhere else," he said according to the English transcript which, like the audio message, appeared on Web sites linked to the group.
The answer was in response to the question "excuse me, Mr. Zawahri, but who is it who is killing with Your Excellency's blessing the innocents in Baghdad, Morocco and Algeria?"
Al-Qaida has taken credit for the destruction of the World Trade Center which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City in 2001, while its affiliates in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria regularly set off explosives in crowded urban areas that have taken thousands of lives.
"If there is any innocent who was killed in the Mujahideen's operations, then it was either an unintentional error or out of necessity," Zawahri added.
He went on to say that it was their opponents who killed innocents and also noted that "the enemy intentionally takes up positions in the midst of the Muslims for them to be human shields for him."
He also predicted the end of the Saudi state, which is "swimming against the tide of history" and the government of his native Egypt, which he called a "corrupt, rotten regime (that) cannot possibly continue."
Many of the questions he chose to answer focused on restarting the jihad in Egypt, which Zawahri himself helped begin and was crushed by the government in the 1990s.
"The days will reveal to you what you didn't know, and news will come to you from those who didn't have it," he said quoting an old Arabic proverb, about when the jihad would begin again in Egypt, and counseled patience.
Egypt's plainclothes State Security officers and uniformed police were declared "permissible to kill" in the struggle for Egypt and he hinted that he had supporters in the Egyptian army, like the man who assassinated former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.