Tuesday 23 January 2018

'Dead' al Qaeda chief appears in footage on Islamist website

Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan-born top al Qaeda leader. Photo: Reuters
Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan-born top al Qaeda leader. Photo: Reuters

AN Islamist website published a video message from Abu Yahya al-Libi, the al Qaeda no 2 who Washington reported was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan last week, but did not say when the footage was recorded.

It was not immediately clear whether the posting of the film on Tuesday was an attempt to show Libi had survived the attack. He did not refer to the US report in his message and the film was only dated with the current Islamic year 1433.

Libi called on Islamist fighters outside Syria to join rebels in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad.

"We call on our brothers in Iraq, Jordan and Turkey to go to help their brothers," he said in the video, released by a group known to be the media arm of al Qaeda.

"If your revolution was to be peaceful, God would have chosen it that way, but now the illusion of peaceful means after these great sacrifices ... would show weakness," he added, addressing Syrians.

A post on the site three days ago had said a message from Libi would be released soon.

The US government called the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, who had survived previous attacks, a serious blow to a group in which it said he played a key role forging links with young potential recruits.

Libi, a cleric whose real name was Mohamed Hassan Qaid, escaped from US custody in Afghanistan in 2005 and on at least one previous occasion was prematurely reported to have been killed in a US drone strike.

Libi also attacked the United States and the West, saying they did not have good intentions for Syria.

"Since when have the United States, United Nations and West been keen to protect lives of Muslims," he asked. Have the West's observers and missions helped (the Syrian people)?"

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