Ayman Al Zawahiri, long-time right hand man and probable successor of Osama Bin Laden, has called on Saudis to join the "spring revolutions" that have rocked the Arab world. Bin Laden, Al Qaeda founder and mastermind, was killed by US Navy SEALs earlier this month.
In an audiotape released by Al-Qaeda's media arm, the As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication, Al Zawahiri said Western governments had backed the veteran strongmen in Egypt and Tunisia who were overthrown by popular uprisings earlier this year, US monitoring agency Site reported.
As Sahab ("The Cloud"), said Al Zawahiri's message was recorded before Bin Laden's death on May 2.
"Zawahiri addressed the uprisings and current events in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, and called for additional revolutions in Yemen and Saudi Arabia," As Sahab said.
The video was released as Riyadh proceeds with the public trial of eleven Al Qaeda suspects behind an attack in the Red Sea city of Yanbu seven years ago. Two Americans, two Britons, an Australian, a Canadian and a Saudi were gunned down in the attack against a US company in 2004.
The defendants are accused of creating a terror cell to plan and carry out terror operations that serve the goals of Al Qaida. They are also accused of possessing weapons, money laundering, inciting unrest by terrorizing citizens and expatriates and stealing private cars at gunpoint.
The prosecutor noted the brainchild of that attack was Mustafa Ansari who was killed during the 2004 attack.
Ansari, a Saudi national deeply involved in Al Qaeda's global efforts, had been active in Afghanistan before going to Britain, Somalia, and Yemen, where he spent six years before returning to Saudi Arabia using forged documents.
The trial is scheduled to resume June 13.