Terror against Israel is the final stage of al-Qaeda's plan to take over the Middle East: The U.S. has obtained a letter sent by Osama Bin Laden's deputy Ayman Zawahiri to the leader of Iraq's insurgency Abu Musab al-Zarqawi outlining its future strategies, the Washington Post reported Friday.
According to the letter, intercepted during an operation in Iraq, al-Qaeda plans to broaden its activities from Iraq to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
The 13 page document provides a thorough outline of al-Qaeda's strategies in Iraq and beyond. The document's content was authenticated by numerous sources.
Al-Qaeda's four-stage plan is clearly detailed: expelling the U.S. forces from Iraq, creating a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible, expanding jihad to neighboring countries, specifically Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and war against Israel.
"I want to be the first to bless you on what God has blessed you with - fighting in the heart of the Muslim world that was a battleground for large historic Islamic wars and what is now the place of Islam's greatest war in the present era," Zawahiri said in the letter.
"The 'Mujaheddin' or warriors must not be allowed to end their mission with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons," he said. "Then we will return to having the secularists and traitors govern us."
Letter contains request for financial assistance
The letter also hints at tensions within the group. Zawahiri warns Zarqawi against beheading hostages and then distributing videotapes, which could harm al-Qaeda's popularity in the Islamic world, he writes.
He advises Zarqawi to shoot hostages instead of beheading them.
However, it sees Zarqawi has ignored al-Qaeda's deputy and his group in Iraq continues to behead their hostages - the leader beheaded a hostage two weeks ago.
The letter also contains a request by Zawahiri for financial assistance from al-Qaeda supporters.