Al Qaida's second in command issued a worldwide call yesterday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."
In a taped message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri said the terrorist organisation would not stand idly by while "these (Israeli) shells burn our brothers.
"All the world is a battlefield open in front of us," said the Egyptian-born alZawahri, second-in-command to Osama bin Laden.
"The war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires ... . It is a jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said.
"We will everywhere."
Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims until they were driven from power at the turn of the 16th century.
Al-Zawahri declared that Arab regimes were complicit in Israeli fighting against Hezbollah and Palestinians.
"My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but complicit...and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on God and fight your enemies...make yourselves martyrs."
He also issued a call for the "downtrodden" throughout the world, not just Muslims, the join the battle against "tyrannical Western civilisation and its leader, America."
"Stand with Muslims in confronting this unprecedented oppression and tyranny. Stand with us as we stand with you against this injustice that was forbidden by God in his book (the Koran)," alZawahri said.
Kamal Habib, a former member of Egypt's Islamic Jihad militant group who was jailed from 1981 to 1991 along with al-Zawahri, said the al Qaida No 2's outreach to nonMuslims was unprecedented and reflected a major change in tactics.