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Zawahri urges aid for quake victims

October 24, 2005

DUBAI, Oct 23: Al Qaeda’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, urged Muslims in a video broadcast on Sunday to help Pakistan’s earthquake victims even though its government was an “agent” of the US.

“I call on all Muslims and Islamic charity organisations in particular to go to Pakistan and give a helping hand to the victims there,” a bespectacled Zawahri said in the tape aired on Al Jazeera. Wearing a white turban and seated beside an assault rifle, al-Zawahri denounced Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

“We all know that Musharraf’s government is an agent of the United States but despite that I call on all Muslims to run to the help of their brothers in Pakistan,” he said.

“We all know the United States is against the activities of Islamic charities,” said Zawahri, the Egyptian right-hand man of Osama bin Laden. He is wanted by Cairo for anti-government attacks.

The tape appeared to have been recorded on Oct. 9, as Zawahri said the earthquake had occurred the day before.

Washington has accused a number of Islamic charities of funnelling funds to Muslim militants.

Zawahri last appeared in a videotape aired on Al Jazeera on Sept. 19, in which he said al Qaeda carried out the July suicide bombings in London to strike at “British arrogance”. —Reuters