(AP) - The deputy leader of the al Qaeda terror group, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has come out against early elections in the Palestinian territories, saying in a videotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera on Wednesday that voting would lead only to defeat.
Entering the argument over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's proposal for early elections to resolve the conflict between the Fatah and Hamas parties, al-Zawahiri said the only way was armed struggle, reports Trend.
"Any way other than holy war will lead us only to loss and defeat," al-Zawahiri said.
In what appeared to be a reference to Abbas and his Fatah party, al-Zawahiri said: "Those who are trying to liberate the Islamic territories through elections based on secular constitutions, or on decisions to hand over Palestine to the Jews, will not liberate one grain of sand of Palestine."
In a Wednesday morning news bulletin, Al-Jazeera broadcast a short clip of a videotape that it had received, saying it would air a longer segment later.
The broadcast came two days after a posting on a militant Islamic Web site announced that a message from al-Zawahiri was coming.
The video was the 15th time this year that al-Zawahiri has sent out a statement.
In Wednesday's tape, he wore a black turban and a white robe. As usual, he had a rifle behind his right shoulder, leaning against a plain brown backdrop.
His two previous videos were broadcast in September to mark the anniversary of al Qaeda's attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In them, he denounced the reinforced U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon and called U.S. President George W. Bush a liar.