Cairo, Egypt The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq railed against Shiites in a four-hour audiotape harangue posted Friday on the Internet, saying militias are raping women and killing Sunnis and the community must fight back.
The tape by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi appeared aimed at sabotaging the Iraqi government's efforts to name a unity government - but also was intended to inflame rising Shiite-Sunni tensions across the Arab world.
A written statement said the audiotape was made two months ago. The CIA said Friday that technical analysis of the tape confirmed it was al-Zarqawi's voice.
Al-Zarqawi's Sunni insurgent followers have carried out some of the deadliest suicide bombings in Iraq's conflict and have frequently targeted Shiite civilians and mosques in an attempt to spark civil war. In his statements, the Jordanian-born militant often vilifies Shiites as infidels.
But the tape posted Friday was an unprecedented screed that chronicled what al-Zarqawi said was a Shiite campaign throughout history to destroy Islam and help foreign invaders of Muslim lands.
"Sunnis, wake up, pay attention and prepare to confront the poisons of the Shiite snakes," al-Zarqawi said. "Forget about those advocating the end of sectarianism and calling for national unity."
He pointed to two Shiite militias with links to parties in the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government, accused by Sunnis in Iraq of running death squads in a recent wave of sectarian violence.
"They kill men and arrest women, put them in prison and rape them, and steal everything from the houses of the Sunnis," he said.