DUBAI (AFP) – A wanted American member of Al-Qaeda warned in a new video on Sunday that US diplomatic missions and other interests were “legitimate targets,” vowing that the network would attack these “spy dens.”
In the footage compiled by Al-Qaeda’s production arm As-Sahab, an unnamed narrator singled out US missions in oil-rich Gulf Arab states as potential targets.
“We shall continue to target you at home and abroad just as you target us at home and abroad,” Adam Gadahn, an American convert to Islam who has been indicted for treason in the United States, said in the video.
The video was posted on LauraMansfield.com, an American website which monitors terrorist groups.
Ben Venzke, a cyberterrorism expert with the Virginia-based counterterrorism consulting firm IntelCenter, said in a statement that the video contained “significant indicators” of an increased threat.
The video “contains significant indicators of possible increased targeting by Al-Qaeda against the diplomatic facilities and personnel of the US, India and NATO member countries around the world based on an analysis of previous correlations between Al-Qaeda messaging and targeting trends and the contents of the video,” he said in a statement.
“While diplomatic facilities/personnel have always been targeted by Al-Qaeda, the release of this video represents perhaps the most detailed, direct and significant justification for such attacks and threat of more to come.”
In the video, Gadahn lashed out at the US-led “crusade” against Muslims and said diplomatic missions were the bases for anti-Muslim actions.
“These spy dens and military command and control centres from which you plotted your aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq, and which still provide vital moral, military, material, and logistical support to the Crusade, shall continue to be legitimate targets for brave Muslims… unless you heed our demands,” Gadahn said.
“Stop the Crusade and leave the Muslims alone,” he added.
The one-hour 17-minute video was shown about two months after Gadahn warned in another Internet video that US President George W. Bush should withdraw all his troops from Muslim land or face attacks worse than September 11.
The only way to deal with the “dens of saboteurs and spies… when they refuse to leave of their own accord is to expel them by force,” said Gadahn, who was wearing a chequered red and white Arab headdress.
The video included clips from old speeches by Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri. But much of it focused on the suicide bomber who killed one US diplomat and four other people ouside the US consulate in Karachi in March 2006.
The video also showed images of the September 11, 2001 attacks and other attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda, including the 2005 London bombings.
“The killing of those infidels and the targeting of their dens (diplomatic missions) is a religious duty,” thundered the narrator.
“Your embassies and consulates in Qatar, Kuwait, Riyadh and Bahrain provided you full support in your (March 2003 US-led) invasion of Iraq.”
The voice said that “the targeting of Tel Aviv, Moscow and Delhi” is also “our legitimate right,” accusing India of “killing more than 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir with US blessing.”
The US also “backs the crusaders in Chechnya who killed 250,000 Muslims,” the voice charged.
Gadahn — also known as Azzam al-Amriki and Azzam the American — has appeared in several videotapes for Al-Qaeda since 2004, praising the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington and threatening new terror onslaughts.
In October 2006 he became the first person since the World War II era to be charged in the United States with treason. The charge carries a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of death.
Gadahn, who is believed to be in Pakistan, has a one million dollar reward for his capture and he appears along with bin Laden on a US “Wanted” poster featuring 26 “faces of global terrorism.”
Gadahn was born in 1978 in southern California, the son of a 1960s Jewish rock musician who later converted to Christianity and became a rural goat farmer.
His conversion to Islam came after he attended the Islamic Centre of Orange County, where he is believed to have come under the influence of two foreign-born Islamist radicals. He is thought to have left California for Karachi in 1998.