Elshari added: "I swear to God, we will open up for them doors of hell on the ground, which will be the key to our victory, where we will cut the tails of the crusaders; destroy the dreams of crusade and ruin the desires of the Jews in the region."

'PR tape'

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, said: "It was a classic al-Qaeda type of PR in which he [Elshahri] congratulated the leadership of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri about what he described as a successful attempt by the Nigerian, Omar Farooq, to blow up the US aircraft."

"I swear to God, we will open up for them doors of hell on the ground, which will be the key to our victory"

Saed Elshari, al-Qaeda's number two in the Arabian Peninsula

US authorities detained Farooq after he allegedly attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner using explosives stitched into his underwear on December 25.

Our correspondent added that Elshahri "denied reports that emerged weeks ago that most of the leadership [al-Qaeda's] in the Arab Peninsula was killed in attacks by the end of December".

"He [Eshari] used the audiotape to tell the followers and people across the Muslim world that you have to be careful about what he described [as] tactics by the crusaders. Of course,  he's referring to American troops in this part of the world," said Ahelbarra.

Elshari was released in 2007 from the US Navy's detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to his native Saudi Arabia.

Arab states criticised

There he graduated from a "rehabilitation" programme before fleeing the country to join anti-government fighters in Yemen.

He quickly rose to become al-Qaeda's second-in-command in the Arabian Peninsula.

In the audio tape, Elshahri accused Saudi Arabia and Egypt of "preserving the interests of Jews and Christians" by supplying them with oil and allowing them access to the waters surrounding the Peninsula.

He accused Arab states of helping "crusaders" and "Jews" to "wage a war on Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula."

Elshahri also said the US and other international powers are "indirectly waging war on several fronts" in Yemen by collecting intelligence with unmanned drones, "turning Muslims against each other ... and distorting the image of the mujahideen" fighters.

He praised Somalia's anti-government fighters for fighting "the leader of the international infidels, America," and called on Yemeni tribes to "stand up like men," and not to co-operate with those "who conspire against Muslims".