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New Statement By Al Zawahri Expected 'Soon'

(AP)
A new statement by al Qaeda's No.2 Ayman al Zawahri entitled "Lift the Blockade Off Gaza" will soon be released on the Internet, according to a banner posted on militant Islamist websites Tuesday. There was no indication whether the statement, which was produced by al Qaeda's media wing al Sahab, will be an audio or video tape.

The banner carried al Zawahri's picture and indicated the statement was being released on the anniversary of the 1967 war, which is referred to as "the setback" on the banner. Arabs often refer to the six-day war which started on June 5th, 1967 as "the setback" because of Israel's swift defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

In an audiotape that was posted on the Internet on May 18th, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had urged Muslims to help end the closure of Gaza by Israel. The fact that the two al Qaeda figures are focusing on same issues may be an indication of some level of coordination of their messages.

Al Qaeda statements are usually released within two days of the announcement. Al Zawahri's last statement was released on April 22 in which he called on Muslims to support the al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq.