Al Qaeda threatens to target Western countries
Warnings of attacks if Omar Abdel Rahman dies in prison
Chronology messages attributed to Al Qaeda
Dec 20 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al Zawahri said in a video tape aired by Al Jazeera on Wednesday his group would continue to target Western countries so long as Muslims were under attack.
Following is a chronology of major statements attributed to Osama bin Laden, Zawahri or their allies in the last six months. At least 37 messages have been broadcast since Al Jazeera aired the first statement by bin Laden in 2001.
June 1 - Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Musab al-Zarqawi calls on fellow Sunnis to reject any reconciliation with "infidel" Shi'ites, in an audiotape.
June 9 - Zawahri urges Palestinians, in a video, to reject a referendum on a statehood proposal that implicitly recognises Israel.
June 22 - Zawahri vows vengeance against the United States for the death of Zarqawi in a U.S. air strike.
June 30 - Bin Laden praises Zarqawi as a "lion of jihad", and vows al Qaeda will continue to fight U.S. forces and their allies "everywhere", according to an Internet audiotape.
July 1 - Bin Laden warns Iraq's Shi'ite majority of retaliation for attacks on Sunni Arabs and says his group will fight the United States anywhere in the world.
July 7 - A year on from the London bombings, al Qaeda issues a video with comments from Zawahri, bin Laden and one bomber. Zawahri says bombers Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan had been trained in al Qaeda camps.
July 27 - Zawahri, in video statement titled "The Zionist-crusader war on Lebanon and the Palestinians", calls on Muslims to fight attacks on their countries.
Sept. 29 - Zawahri calls U.S. President George W. Bush a "lying failure" for saying progress had been made in the war on terrorism. He also calls the Pope a charlatan because of his remarks on Islam.
Dec. 20 - Zawahri says that al Qaeda will continue to target Western countries so long as Muslims were under attack. Zawahri says Washington is scrambling for an exit from Iraq and Afghanistan, but is approaching the wrong parties. -- He also says that elections would not free Palestinian land from Israeli occupation and that any path other than holy war would lead to "loss and defeat".
Muslims called to attack Western targets if Omar Abdel Rahman dies in prison
DUBAI, Dec 20 (Reuters) - An Islamist Web site used by militant groups including al Qaeda urged Muslims on Wednesday to seek the release of a cleric jailed in the United States through "any form of attempt or pressure".
Al-Hesbah Network also warned Washington that it would be held responsible for any harm that came to Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind Muslim cleric imprisoned for conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks.
U.S. law enforcement officials have said Abdel-Rahman was taken to hospital earlier this month, prompting a warning by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warning that his death could lead to attacks on the United States.
The Web site quoted what it described as the will of Abdel-Rahman as saying: "If they (U.S.) and they certainly will kill me ... forget not my blood and do not let it be wasted. Seek revenge for me in the strongest and most violent fashion."
"We promise God to follow the path of the Sheikh's teachings and we urge our mujahideen brothers in all parts not to forget the case of Sheikh Omar," it said.
"We urge all Muslims and everyone with mercy for the weak ... to do something for the blind and tortured sheikh, through words, stances or any form of attempt or pressure."
The U.S. officials have said the medical condition of the 68-year-old Abdel-Rahman had subsequently improved, that he had been released from the hospital, that he now is in stable condition and back in a federal prison medical facility.
According to the U.S. bulletin, Abdel-Rahman began to spit up blood on Dec. 6 and was taken from the prison to the emergency room at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, where doctors discovered a tumour on his liver, the officials said.
"We at al-Hesbah Network hold America responsible for any harm, torture or insult to which the sheikh is subjected and we will never forget that," it said.
The Egyptian sheikh was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison.
He has long suffered from a number of medical problems, including diabetes and heart ailments.