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Terror Chief Calls Bush A 'Butcher'

Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called President Bush a "butcher" and threatened a new attack on the United States in a videotape aired on Arab television Monday.

It was al-Zawaihi his first appearance since an American airstrike that targeted him this month in Pakistan failed to kill him.

Al-Zawahiri, shown in the video wearing white robes and a white turban, said a Jan. 13 airstrike in the eastern village of Damadola killed "innocents," and he said the United States had ignored an offer from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for a truce.

"He is wearing all white, and white conveys in this case that he is trying to present himself as a religious figure," said CBS News Consultant Jere Van Dyk. "Notice there is no rifle there, there is no grenade launcher, as he had the last time."

"Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure. You are a curse on your own nation and you have brought and will bring them only catastrophes and tragedies," al-Zawahiri said, referring to Bush. "Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses."

Van Dyk also added this was al-Zawahiri's way to let the Muslim world know, "I'm alive, you missed me! And I am still very strong."

The airstrike hit a building in Damadola, where U.S. intelligence believed al-Zawahiri had been attending an Islamic holiday dinner. CBS News correspondent James Stewart reports Pakistani officials say the strike killed four al Qaeda leaders — including a man believed to be al-Zawahiri's son-in-law — but intelligence officials said later they believe al-Zawahiri sent his aides to the dinner in his place. Now, Stewart reports, U.S. officials say they just aren't sure who they killed that day.

Thirteen villagers also were killed in the strike, angering many Pakistanis.

"The American planes raided in compliance with Musharraf the traitor and his security apparatus, the slave of the Crusaders and the Jews," he said, referring to Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"In seeking to kill my humble self and four of my brothers, the whole world has discovered the extent of America's lies and failures and the extent of its savagery in fighting Islam and Muslims."

The video was al-Zawahiri's first appearance since the airstrike and came 11 days after the latest audiotape by bin Laden. IntelCenter, a contractor working with U.S. intelligence agencies, said the video of al-Zawahiri is new.

The last video from al-Zawahiri came Jan. 6, when he called the U.S. decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq a victory for the Islamic world.

The Al-Jazeera newscaster said Monday the network was airing excerpts, and it showed two short segments. It was not immediately known how long the entire tape was.


In the video, al-Zawahiri spoke before a black background. No automatic weapon was visible, unlike past videos by the al Qaeda deputy in which a gun often appeared leaning next to him. In the bottom left corner, the video had the logo in Arabic and English of Al-Sahab, an al Qaeda video production company that made some past videos by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri.

"My second message is to the American people, who are drowning in illusions. I tell you that Bush and his gang are shedding your blood and wasting your money in frustrated adventures," he said, speaking in a forceful and angry voice.

"The lion of Islam, Sheik Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, offered you a decent exit from your dilemma. But your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan and — God willing — on your own land."

Al-Zawahiri then vented more fury at the United States and Britain, its main coalition partner in Iraq.

"Your leaders responded to the initiative of sheik Osama, may God protect him, by saying they don't negotiate with terrorists and that they are winning the war on terror. I tell them: You liars, greedy war mongers, who is pulling out from Iraq and Afghanistan? Us or you? Whose soldiers are committing suicide because of despair? Us or you?" he said.

"You, American mother, if the Pentagon calls to tell you that your son is coming home in a coffin, then remember George Bush. And you, British wife, if the Defense Department calls you to say that your husband is returning crippled and burnt, remember Tony Blair."

There was no immediate comment from the White House on the new Zawahiri tape, CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller reports.

CBS News Middle East consultant Fouad Ajami said the president may see the recording as a marching order.

The video came in the wake of a Jan. 19 audiotape by bin Laden in which he warned that al Qaeda is preparing attacks in the United States but offered a truce "with fair conditions" to build Iraq and Afghanistan.

The al Qaeda leader did not spell out conditions for a truce in the excerpts aired by Al-Jazeera.

U.S. officials said after the bin Laden tape that they had no sign that al Qaeda was preparing an imminent attack in the United States.

In an Arabic transcription of the entire tape on the Al-Jazeera Web site — but not aired — bin Laden made an oblique reference to how to prevent new attacks on the United States but did not specify if those were conditions for a truce.

The tape was the first message from bin Laden in more than a year. The CIA authenticated the voice on the tape as that of bin Laden. Al-Jazeera said the tape was recorded in the Islamic month that corresponds with December.

The White House firmly rejected bin Laden's suggestion of a negotiated truce.

"We don't negotiate with terrorists," Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time. "I think you have to destroy them."

During the year of silence from bin Laden, al-Zawahiri issued several video and audiotapes, including one claiming al Qaeda responsibility for the July 7 London bombings.