In the tape aired on Monday, al-Zawahri also lashed out at US President George Bush.  

Al-Zawahri accused Bush of misleading the world, spreading "fear" in the Middle East and appointing "corrupt" leaders. 

"Bush appoints corrupt leaders and protects them. A quick look at the Islamic world from Morocco to Indonesia will reveal those US-backed leaders," said al-Zawahri.

"Bush supports them to carry out his war against Islam, calling it 'war on terrorism.'"

Al-Zawahri has also denied Bush's allegations of cracking down on two-thirds of al-Qaida network. 

"Bush has not crushed two thirds of al-Qaida. On the contrary, al-Qaida, and thank God, is still raising the Islamic flag in the battlefield in the face of the Zionist crusades."

The Iraq issue

Shifting on to the Iraqi issue, the top aide has said Iraq was under the rule of an anti-Islamic secular governor (referring to Saddam Hussein) and is now under an anti-Islamic occupation.

 

He then warned the United States of new attacks.

 

"You Bush, protect your country and step up your security measures. The Islamic Ummah Mujaheda (Nation of fighters), which sent its brigades to New York and Washington, is determined to send more 'Death Brigades."

 

"Bush has not crushed two thirds of al-Qaida. On the contrary, al-Qaida, and thank God, is still raising the Islamic flag in the battlefield in the face of the Zionist crusades."

Ayman al-Zawahri, 
Al-Qaida's leader top aide

In his audio tape, al-Zawahri referred to Bush's State of Union Speech, which is normally delivered on 20 January, indicating that al-Zawahri's tape was recently recorded.

 

"Bush has delivered the State of Union Speech to the Congress. The speech was full of lies and allegations. I wonder how the leader of the superpower country can issue such lies and allegations!"

 

Addressing the Americans, al-Zawahiri said: "You Americans, the fathers and mothers of US soldiers, remember The United States' crimes in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Guantanamo whenever you receive the dead bodies of your killed sons (soldiers).

 

You have to remember that if you grow thorns, you will not collect roses."