July 31, 2007 / 7:45 PM / 12 years ago

Topple Musharraf, a Qaeda leader tells Pakistanis

DUBAI (Reuters) - A leader of al Qaeda called on Pakistanis to overthrow President Pervez Musharraf accusing his regime of helping Washington kill Muslims in Afghanistan, where the militant said he was in a video posted on Tuesday.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf addresses the nation in Islamabad in this July 12, 2007 file photo. A leader of al Qaeda called on Pakistanis to overthrow Musharraf accusing his regime of helping Washington kill Muslims in Afghanistan, where the militant said he was in a video posted on Tuesday. REUTERS/Press Information Department/Handout

“O’ jihad people of Pakistan ... rise as one to remove this apostate and corrupt tyrant and remove his secular rule and destroy the bastions of his frail army,” said Abu Yahya al-Libi.

“Pakistan was not created to be an ally and supporter of America, the guardian of the cross, and its lackeys ... whose weapons are killing thousands here in Afghanistan,” he said.

Musharraf has been under increasing pressure from the United States, an important ally and aid source, to step up action against Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents and their al Qaeda allies in the border areas.

Libi, who became a regular speaker for the group in recent months, is believed to be one of four al Qaeda militants who broke out from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan in 2005.

He praised as “masters of martyrs” Islamists killed in a military assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, complex in the Pakistani capital Islamabad early this month.

More than 100 people were killed in that assault.

Pakistan has been hit by a string of attacks and suicide bombings, especially in its tribal areas near the Afghan border, following the assault.

Al Qaeda’s second-in command Ayman al-Zawahri called for revenge over the assault on the Red Mosque complex in an Internet recording on July 11.

Nearly 200 people have died, mostly police and soldiers, in the various bombings and clashes across the country since the complex was taken.

Seven people died in Islamic militant attacks on Monday and a mosque and shrine have been occupied in northwestern Pakistan.

Libi’s 21-minute video statement was produced by al Qaeda’s media arm al-Sahab and posted on a Web site used by Islamist groups including Iraqi insurgents. Sahab also posted a version of the statement in Urdu.

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