Al-Qaeda leader calls for more violence against Egyptian regime
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri - AFP
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Al-Qaeda leading member Ayman al-Zawahiri gave a speech attacking the current regime and political parties in Egypt, accusing the transitional government of serving the military and the United States, Youm7 reported Saturday.

Zawahiri’s statements came in a voice recorded message as part of his series titled “Days with the Imam”, released in the 4th commemoration of the death of Al-Qaeda’s ex-leader Osama Bin Laden, who was killed on May 2 in 2011, Al-Arabiya reported.

“What’s happening today is a conspiracy in which seculars, liberals, democratic and human rights defenders have participated in with the American enemy that used the military to achieve its goals,” Zawahiri said in his speech.

Calling for more resistance, not excluding armed confrontation, from the Muslim Brotherhood, their supporters and other opposition groups, Zawahiri also attacked the Salafists, mainly the Nour Party, for giving their consent to the army, which Zawahiri considers illegitimate.

Islamic thinker Hisham el-Naggar says Zawahiri is seeking to take advantage of the current unstable political situation to re-establish himself in Egypt, especially during times where Islamists are marginalized from political life.

“This is the golden opportunity for Zawahiri to gather the masses in his support, relying on his former contacts with jihadists who have infiltrated the political system, and this will be his plan to use the Brotherhood’s rocky situation and lack of trust of the youth in their leadership,” Naggar told Youm7 on Saturday.

This is not the first time Zawahiri criticized the party. Last April, Nour Party president Younis Makhioun disregarded his criticism saying it was only proof that the party was going in the right direction.

“Zawahiri attacks the Nour Party and the Salafi Call because he uses another strategy that is based on weapons and the use of violence ,” Makhioun told Youm7 on April 20.

Similarly, Islamic thinker Kamal Habib told Youm7 that Zawahiri is trying to give Al-Qaeda control in Egypt, especially amid the crisis the group is facing in Syria, among the ongoing wars between Daesh and al-Nusra Front.

In a recent voice-recorded message published by the Lebanese website Al-Khabar Press, Zawahiri called on both groups’ leaders to stop fighting each other, demanding that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Boghdady retreat troops to Iraq, while asking al-Nusra to stop killing their fellow jihadists in Syria.

Zawahiri’s previous stance regarded al-Nusra Front as an Al-Qaeda affiliated group, and he criminalized Daesh last February, Al-Arabiya reported on April 16. According to a program on Zawahiri prepared by Al-Arabiya, the Islamist leader has been losing control over Al-Qaeda affiliated groups and members, mainly in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as failing to ease things between Daesh and al-Nusra Front, as many do not see him as a successor of bin Laden.

Zawahiri is being legally pursued by Egypt and the United States for a series of terrorist attacks in which he was involved, the most well known attack was the case of the “Returnees of Albania” in 1990’s, for which he had been sentenced to death in absentia.

Security forces arrested in early April a man in Egypt named Tharwat Salah Shehata. He is believed to have been Zawahiri’s assistant and was allegedly part of the operations in the 1990’s.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Arafa, Mahmoud Ismail and Kamel Kamel.

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