1,122. 2/23/1998

On February 23, 1998, “bin Laden and [Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Ayman al-] Zawahiri decided to declare war on America unambiguously and publicly. The two were joined by three other prominent jihadists: Rifa’I Ahmed Taha, who led a splinter group of al Gamaa al Islamiyya that had merged with Islamic Jihad; Sheikh Mir Hamza, secretary general of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, a Pakistani jihadist group; and Maulana Fazi-ur Rahman, the leader of a Bangladeshi Islamist group. The five signed a declaration proclaiming the founding of the World Islamic Front, an umbrella group dedicated to uniting the global jihadist camp. …The declaration cited three reasons for action: the American occupation of the holy Arabian Peninsula, the alleged massacre of Iraqis as a result of the UN sanctions imposed in 1991, and the founding of Israel and its occupation of Jerusalem. The three crimes were directed by the United States, they argued, their purpose being to protect Israel.”

 – Bruce Riedel, The Search for Al Qaeda, Page 59

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