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Al-Qaida chief blames US for Ukraine invasion in new video

In this 1998 file photo made available Friday, March 19, 2004, Ayman al-Zawahri, holds a press conference with Osama bin Laden (not seen) in Khost, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, File)

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri made an appearance in a pre-recorded video to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of his predecessor Osama bin Laden.

    Al-Zawahri says in the video that "U.S. weakness" was the reason that its ally Ukraine became "prey" for the Russian invasion.

    The 27-minute speech was released Friday according to the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors militant activity. The leader appears sitting at a desk with books and a gun.

    Urging Muslim unity, al-Zawahri said the U.S. was in a state of weakness and decline, citing the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan launched after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bin Laden was the mastermind and financier behind the attacks.

    "Here (the U.S.) is after its defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the economic disasters caused by the 9/11 invasions, after the Corona pandemic, and after it left its ally Ukraine as prey for the Russians," he said.

    Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by U.S. forces on his compound hideout in Pakistan.

    Al-Zawahri's whereabouts are unknown. He is wanted by the FBI and there is a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture.

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