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Al-Qaida leader urges attacks against the West on Sept. 11 anniversary

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CAIRO -- Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for attacks against Israel and its allies around the world, in a recording released on the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

"My Mujahid brothers in Palestine and in the rest of the Muslim Ummah (nation)! The interests of Israel and its American, British, French, Russian and European allies are spread all over the world," Al-Zawahiri said in a video recording aired on Wednesday by al-Qaida media arm As-Sahab.

He added that Israel and its allies were "suffocating jihad" in the Palestinian territory.

"So just as they conspire and join forces against us everywhere, we must chase them down everywhere at a time and place of our choosing. Be inventive and creative in your methods," he added.

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon-turned-terrorist, was named the head of al-Qaida in 2011 after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special operations forces at his hideout in Pakistan.

The elderly al-Qaida chief is believed to be hiding in Pakistan's tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

Al-Zawahiri defended the 9/11 attacks, which left nearly 3,000 people dead when al-Qaeda terrorists crashed hijacked passenger jets in New York, Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.

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"I would like to ask them that if they believed that we had killed innocents in the World Trade Center -- and this is a false assumption to begin with -- were those killed in the Pentagon also innocent?" he asked.

He urged jihadists to attack Western forces across the globe, mainly in the Muslim world. "So attack them as reprisal for their crimes in Palestine and their support to Israel," he said.

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