The White House said on Thursday that it was "not surprised" by Al-Qaeda second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri's threats against Israel but that his stated concerns about Muslims were hypocritical.
"Many of the things that he has done have led to the murder of Muslims around the world by his own jidahists," said spokesman Tony Snow, who underlined "a certain amount of hypocrisy" in Zawahiri's latest videotape.
Zawahiri warned the network would carry out attacks against Israel and its US backers to avenge the Israeli offensives against Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, in a videotape aired today by Arabic television channel Al-Jazeera.
"It is hardly new for Mister Zawahiri, from his place in hiding, to issue threats," said Snow, who said US officials had yet to positively confirm the authenticity of the recording but added that "it certainly looked like him."
Snow said Al-Qaeda, the network behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes on the United States, had seen its military capability "significantly degraded" and was therefore firing broadsides in a rhetorical war.
"We're not surprised to hear from Mister Zawahiri," he said.
The recording was Al-Qaeda's first reaction to the onslaughts which started in late June in Gaza and on July 12 in Lebanon, triggered by the capture of Israeli soldiers by Palestinian militants and Lebanons Shiite Hezbollah movement.