Cairo – Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has described the
army-installed government's crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
as a "brutal crime" and urged Egyptians to resist what he called a
campaign against Islam in their country.
Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood
supporters and arrested thousands, including most it leaders, since the army
toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on 3 July following mass protests
against his rule.
Many were killed when the security forces, who regard the
Brotherhood as terrorists, killed hundreds of its supporters on 14 August in a
raid on pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.
In an audio speech released a day after the 12th anniversary
of the 9/11 strikes on the United States, former doctor Zawahri, condemned the
break up of the camps and the arrest of Islamists.
"This is an episode of a long drama that awaits
Egyptians if they don't unite to implement sharia Islamic law and free their
country," said Zawahri, an Egyptian who was tortured by authorities during
the rule of ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Zawahri also said the United States was conspiring in Egypt
and called on Egyptians to fight the "oppression".
Egypt, a US ally and the most populous Arab state, faced an
insurgency by supporters of Zawahri in the 1990s. Mubarak crushed those
Islamists, who later renounced violence.
Egyptian state television on Thursday accused the
Palestinian Hamas of training Egyptian Islamists in how to carry out bombings.
That signalled the authorities intend to pile even more
pressure on the Brotherhood, a Hamas ally which emerged from the shadows to win
every election since a popular revolt toppled Mubarak in 2011.
In neighbouring Gaza, the ruling Hamas Islamists denied the
Militant attacks have surged since Morsi’s overthrow. Most
of the violence is limited to Sinai, a relatively lawless region adjoining
Israel and the Gaza Strip. Attacks on security forces there take place almost
daily and about 50 personnel have been killed since Morsi was deposed.
Concerns are growing that the attacks will spread to Cairo,
especially since a Sinai-based militant group claimed responsibility for a
failed suicide bombing against the interior minister last week.