Al Qaeda increasingly faces sharp criticism from once-loyal sympathizers who openly question its ideology and tactics, including attacks that kill innocent Muslims.
Zawahiri attempted to answer such criticim on a video
“The deaths of any innocents were the result of “intentional error or out of necessity. . . . The enemy intentionally takes up positions in the midst of the Muslims for them to be human shields for him.”
This argument of course is garbage. The deliberate killing of civilians is ethically loathsome and is considered terrorism by any definition. Hamas, Israel, all sides in Sri Lanka, and the US military in Iraq sometimes try to justify the slaughter of non-combatants by saying the opposition is hiding among them – as if that somehow justifies killing innocents.