(dpa) - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is healthy and reports of his illness are false, his second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri said in remarks posted on the internet on Wednesday.
"Sheikh Osama bin Laden is in good health," said al-Zawahri in response to questions posted on the internet. "The ill-intentioned always try to circulate false reports about him being sick."
The Egyptian also renewed threats against Israel and on Jews in his posting, promising Muslims "that we will do our utmost to strike Jews in Israel and abroad with help and guidance from God."
He said that Israel will be the next fight for al-Qaeda after "winning" the war in Iraq against US-led coalition forces. He added that the US had begun to collapse.
In an almost two-hour-long audio message al-Zawahri answered questions posted on Islamic websites sites in December. The response was to be the first installment to answer the hundreds of questions submitted.
Responding to a question about the loss of innocent lives, al-Zawahri said: "If there is any innocent who was killed in the mujahedeen's operations, then it was either an unintentional error."
He described the United Nations as an enemy of Islam and defended attacks on UN offices, apparently referencing bomb attacks on UN buildings in Algiers which killed 41 people in December and the 2003 bombing of a UN building in Baghdad which killed 22.
In March Bin Laden urged Muslims to liberate the Palestinian territories by force.
Both Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan.