In an exclusive Aljazeera broadcast on Monday, the Islamist network's second-in-command Ayman al-Dhawahiri said the way the US dealt with Muslims was unacceptable.

The new video, apparently made before the 2 November US presidential elections, told the American electorate that it did not matter whether they voted Republican or Democrat.

"The two US presidential candidates are challenging each other to satisfy Israel, to continue a crime against the Islamic nation in Palestine that began 87 years ago.

"I say to Americans, vote for whomever you want: Bush or Kerry or even the devil - it is not of any importance.

"What concerns us is to purify our nation from the aggressors and to resist whoever [is] attacking us, profaning our sanctities and stealing our wealth", said al-Dhawahiri.

Warning Arab governments

The Egyptian-born al-Qaida leader did not restrict his comments to the US but warned various Middle Eastern governments that "the fall of Baghdad was just the beginning".

"The fall of Baghdad was in fact a fall to all regimes which have ceded the holy struggle [jihad] and backed invaders", he said, posing the question as to which Arab country "has not been occupied by crusader forces".

"Baghdad did not fall on 9 April 2003. It fell when al-Khidawi Tawfiq called on the British army for help, it fell when al-Sharif Husayn agreed with the British to fight the caliphate.

"It fell when Abd al-Aziz al-Suaud agreed to go under the 'protection' of the British and then the Americans ... it fell when Arabs recognised the 1949 truce agreement [in Palestine]."