Dubai, 4 Dec. (AKI) - By Hamza Boccolini - Al-Qaeda is now using the popular video-sharing website Youtube to spread its messages after many jihadist sites previously used by the terror network were shut down. In a change of media strategy, a staggering 2,000 Al-Qaeda videos have been uploaded to Youtube since the end of last year.
The videos include messages from Al-Qaeda leaders such as Osama Bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri. But videos of militant training camps in Afghanistan and attacks carried out by terrorists in Iraq against US troops are also viewable on Youtube.
The most 'prolific' Islamist terrorist on Youtube, with more than 500 videos, is al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born doctor. Close behind him is Al-Qaeda's late founder in Iraq, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who features in almost 500 videos.
There are also videos of senior Al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi and its late leader in Saudi Arabia, Abdelaziz al-Muqrin, as well as videos made by the terror network's North African branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
After the boom in Islamist websites that captured the attention of Bin Laden sympathisers between 2003 and 2008, jihadist websites such as al-Hesbah, al-Ekhlas, al-Borak and al-Firdaws have been permanently closed down. Only small sites remain and these are forced to change their addresses to avoid being shut down too.
Many recent videos available on Youtube have been published there directly by users downloading items from jihadist sites. Examples include videos featuring the 'Young Somali Mujahadeen' and the leader of the Afghan Islamic party, Qalbuddin Hekmatyar.
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