On 9/11, al Qaeda leader calls for attacks on U.S. and slams jihad "backtrackers"

/ CBS/AP

Trump brings up Taliban talks at 9/11 ceremony

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on Muslims to attack U.S., European, Israeli and Russian targets in a speech on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

SITE Intelligence Group reports that in a video released by the militant group, Zawahri also criticizes "backtrackers" from jihad, referring to former jihadis who changed their views in prison and called the 9/11 attacks unacceptable because innocent civilians were harmed.

1) #alQaeda releases video speech of leader Ayman al-Zawahiri commemorating #911 attacks, titled, “And They Shall Continue to Fight You.” Zawahiri uses #Israel as a launchpad to call for attacks on US, French, British, & other Western interests & alliances https://t.co/2ukRGXZDU4 pic.twitter.com/7jztFV8w8e

— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) September 11, 2019

The coordinated al Qaeda hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001 killed nearly 3,000 people, when airliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and another crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

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Zawahri, an Egyptian, became leader of al Qaeda following the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by U.S. Navy SEALS. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the region.

Zawahri has previously called on Muslims to attack the U.S. He has also called for the kidnapping of Westerners to use as ransom to win the release of Muslim prisoners.

The new video was released as President Trump unleashed threats against militants contemplating another attack on America.

"If anyone dares to strike our land, we will respond with the full measure of American power and the iron will of the American spirit and that spirit is unbreakable," Trump said at the Pentagon.

First published on September 11, 2019 / 12:37 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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