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Al-Jazeera airs purported al Qaeda tape

Voice on audiotape said to be Osama bin Laden's top aide


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Al-Zawahiri tape: "If we are killed or captured, you should carry on the fight."
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(CNN) -- The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera Friday aired what it claims is a new audiotape from al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issuing a call to action in the Muslim world.

The CIA quickly analyzed the tape and said, "We assess with high confidence that it is the voice of Ayman al-Zawahiri."

The speaker on the tape remarks on conflicts in "Palestine," Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan, and the state of the Muslim resistance in those places. He also acknowledges the possibility of being killed or captured -- the first time al-Zawahiri would have made such a direct remark about such a fate.

"Oh, young men of Islam, here is our message to you. If we are killed or captured, you should carry on the fight," the speaker says.

There were no immediate clues as to precisely when the tape was recorded and its authenticity could not be verified by CNN.

The speaker says the conflict between Palestinians and Israel remains the focus of Muslim resistance.

"Defending Palestine is a duty for all Muslims. You should never give up Palestine even if the whole world let it down. In Palestine, we don't face the Jews only, but the anti-Muslim world coalition lead by America the Crusader and the Zionist."

The speaker referenced Israel's targeted killings in the spring of Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi. It is the only time marker on the tape.

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.

In his references to Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan, the speaker doesn't mention specific recent events, including the school siege last month in the southern Russian town of Beslan.


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