Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  

al-Qaeda calls for Jihad in Somalia

al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Muslim fighters to head to Somalia and deploy guerrilla tactics used in Iraq following the rout of the Islamic courts, in an audio message released yesterday.

"I call on all Muslims to respond to the call for Jihad (holy war) in Somalia," Osama bin Laden's deputy said in the message posted on a website normally used by al-Qaeda.

"The real war will start with attacks against the Ethiopian forces of aggression," said the recording, whose authenticity could not be verified.

Ethiopia controversially helped Somalia's transitional government force Islamist forces out of Mogadishu and other strongholds late last month, with the former Islamist leaders now on the run.

Zawahiri called on Islamists to use suicide attacks, mines and ambushes against the government and also implicated the United States, which has backed Ethiopia's right to intervene in Somalia and is helping track down the fleeing fundamentalists.