BEIRUT

Middle East

Al-Qaeda leader urges holy war over Prophet film

This frame grabbed image from video provided by the SITE Intel Group, an American private terrorist threat analysis company, purports to show al-Qaida's leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a still image from a web posting by al-Qaida's media arm, as-Sahab, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/SITE Intel Group)

CAIRO: The leader of Al-Qaida has urged Muslims to wage holy war against the United States and Israel over a film that insulted Islam's Prophet Mohammad.

Ayman al-Zawahri praised as "honest and zealous" demonstrators who breached the U.S Embassy in Cairo and attackers who stormed the U.S. "embassy" in Benghazi in violence linked to the film. The American ambassador and three others died in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city.

The amateur film "Innocence of Muslims" was made by an Egyptian-born American citizen.

In an audio message released by al-Qaida's media arm As-Sahab and posted on militant websites early Saturday, al-Zawahri claimed Washington allowed the film's production under the pretext of freedom of expression, "but this freedom did not prevent them from torturing Muslim prisoners."

 

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