Al-Qaida Escapee From Afghan Prison Urges Somali Militants To Fight 'Holy War'

Sunday, March 25th 2007, 8:58 pm
By: News On 6

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ In a new video posted Sunday on the Internet, an al-Qaida militant who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan called on militants in Somalia to fight a gangland-style holy war against government troops.

It was the second video released this week by Abu Yahia al-Libi, who broke out of the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul in 2005. Earlier this week, he urged all Sunni militants in Iraq to unite under his umbrella and declared an ongoing U.S.-led security operation in Baghdad a failure.

``My patient brother Mujahideen in Somalia ... you have to stick to the gang wars, because it is the longest of battles and ... most suitable for small numbers and vulnerable fighters,'' al-Libi said.

``Slam them with one raid after another, set ambushes against them, and shake their soil with land mines and shake their bases with suicide attacks and car bombs,'' he added. ``The goal of your fight and the purpose of your jihad is the expulsion of the occupier and his helpers and the establishment of an Islamic state in the land of Somalia.''

Earlier this year, Ethiopian-backed Somali government forces drove the militants from the capital of Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia, ending their six months in power.

Many Islamists retreated to the southern tip of the country, vowing to keep fighting and raising the specter of an Iraq-style guerrilla war.

Christian Ethiopia has long been despised by Somali Muslim militants. Ethiopia is also a U.S. ally and American Navy forces are deployed off the Somali coast to prevent militants from fleeing by sea.

Three al-Qaida suspects wanted in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa are believed to be leaders of the Islamic movement in Somalia. The Islamists deny having any links to the terror network.

The 30-minute video on a Web site commonly used by Islamist militants, showed al-Libi _ meaning 'the Libyan' in Arabic _ in a camouflage uniform, with a black turban and beard.

Its authenticity could not be independently verified, but it carried the logo of al-Qaida's media production wing, al-Sahab. The video was also released by IntelCenter, a U.S. government contractor that monitors al-Qaida messaging.

Al-Libi has recorded several tapes since he escaped from Bagram. Afghan police said at the time that his real name is Abulbakar Mohammed Hassan and that he is a Libyan.