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Zawahiri: Palestinian Elections Futile, Only Jihad Will End Occupation


The deputy leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has spoken out against early elections in the Palestinian territories as a way to end a political stalemate between Fatah and Hamas factions.

In a videotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera television Wednesday, Zawahiri said the vote will not liberate Palestinian land and will only harm the holy war against Israeli occupation.

According to the tape, Zawahiri said elections based on secular constitutions will not free "a grain of Palestinian sand, but will choke Jihad." He said Jihad is the only way to liberate Palestine.

It was not clear when the tape was recorded. Al Jazeera did not say how and when it obtained the video.

The Egyptian-born Zawahiri frequently speaks for al-Qaida in video or audiotapes. Some are posted on the Internet and others broadcast on the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

The United States has offered a $25 million reward for information leading to his arrest or death.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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