Al-Qaeda leader calls for 'jihad' against America

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri blasts U.S. decision to move embassy to Jerusalem, calls for "resistance" and "jihad".

Elad Benari ,

Ayman Al-Zawahiri
Ayman Al-Zawahiri

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Sunday urged Muslims to carry out jihad against the United States as it prepares to move its embassy to Jerusalem, AFP reported.

In a five-minute video entitled "Tel Aviv is Also a Land of Muslims," Zawahiri said America's decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem was evidence that negotiations and "appeasement" have failed Palestinians.

U.S. President Donald Trump "was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad," Zawahiri said in the video, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

He added that former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had declared the U.S. "the first enemy of the Muslims”, and swore that “it will not dream of security until it is lived in reality in Palestine, and until all the armies of disbelief leave the land of Muhammad."

Zawahiri argued that Islamic countries had failed to act in Muslims' interests by entering into the United Nations, which recognizes Israel, and submitting to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions instead of sharia (Islamic law).

The American embassy in Jerusalem will be inaugurated on Monday in a special ceremony in which Trump will deliver a video address from Washington.

On Sunday, a large American delegation representing the Trump administration arrived in Israel ahead of Monday’s inauguration ceremony for the new embassy.

The delegation includes Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.

Al-Qaeda often releases recordings of Zawahiri, though their veracity can not be confirmed. In one such recording, released in 2015, Zawahiri welcomed terrorist attacks in Israel and called for Muslims to work to “liberate” Jerusalem.

He has in the past called on Muslims to unite to attack Western and Russian targets.