'The Sunnis of Iraq should not just surrender upon the fall of (their) cities into the hand of the Shi’ite Safavid army,' he said
In a video seen on Thursday, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri called on Iraq's Sunnis to prepare for a "long guerrilla" war if the Islamic State is defeated.
He said, "The Sunnis of Iraq should not just surrender upon the fall of (their) cities into the hand of the Shi’ite Safavid army.”
"Rather they should reorganise themselves in a long guerrilla war in order to defeat the new Crusader-Safavid occupation of their areas as they defeated them before,” he added, in a video recording distributed by supporters.
The video comes two months after he warned American citizens would suffer consequences if the US government executes Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in a video released on July 1.
Since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, there have been hundreds of thousands of civilian, and thousands of military casualties. Millions of people have been displaced.
On Tuesday, the United Nations warned Iraq’s operation to retake Mosul could cause a displacement crisis on a scale not seen for “many years”.
The Iraqi army is supported by both a US-led coalition and Iran in its fight with Islamic State, which seized much of northern and western Iraq in 2014.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)