Al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Yemeni clerics to wage jihad, or holy war, against the United States following what he claimed a U.S. military intervention in Yemen, according to an audio message posted on the internet on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
The audio message, allegedly from Ayman al-Zawahri Zawahri, said "U.S. missiles had already hit areas in the southern Yemeni territories."
"What more are you (the Yemeni clerics) waiting for to call for jihad," Zawahri allegedly addressing the Yemeni clerics, who vowed in January to wage holy war if any overseas troops carried out military operations inside Yemen. He added "are you waiting for the American troops showing on the streets of Sanaa with their tanks?"
"You (the clerics) are just pretending to have no knowledge of the cooperation between the Yemeni government and the U.S. forces, " he said, urging them to read a report by the international human rights organization Amnesty International, which slammed the United States for its alleged strikes on southern Yemen.
Last month, Amnesty International issued photographs that displayed remnants of alleged U.S. cluster bombs and missiles fired at southern Yemen from alleged U.S. warships in the Gulf of Aden last December.
"Is Amnesty International more interested in defending the Yemeni people than you (the clerics)?" Zawahri said, describing the clerics as "false clerics of the Yemeni government."
Last year, Zawahri, in an audio message, appointed Naser al- Wahaishi as the regional leader of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula following the merging of the group's Yemeni and Saudi militants in January, 2009.