DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged small-scale attacks inside the United States to "bleed America economically," adding he hoped eventually to see a more significant strike, according to the SITE monitoring service.
In an audio speech released online a day after the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 strikes, Zawahiri said attacks "by one brother or a few of the brothers" would weaken the U.S. economy
by triggering big spending on security, SITE reported.
Western counter-terrorism chiefs have warned that radicalized "lone wolves" who might have had no direct contact with al-Qaida posed as great a risk as those who carried out complex plots like the 9/11 attacks.
"We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security, for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure," Zawahiri said.
Keeping America in such a state of tension and anticipation only required a few disparate attacks "here and there," he said
"As we defeated it in the gang warfare in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan
, so we should follow it with . . .war on its own land. These disparate strikes can be done by one brother or a few of the brothers," Zawahiri said.
At the same time, Muslims should seize any opportunity to land "a large strike" on the United States, even if this took years of patience.\
The Sept. 11 attacks — in which hijacked airliners were flown into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington, and a Pennsylvania field — triggered a global fight against al-Qaida extremists and their affiliates. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.
In his audio speech, Zawahiri said Muslims should refuse to buy goods from America and its allies, as such spending only helped to fund U.S. military action in Muslim lands.