Quick Guide: Al-Qaeda
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War on terror

Al-Qaeda calls for the 'liberation' of Mecca (above), Medina and Jerusalem

Al-Qaeda claims to be avenging wrongs committed by Christians and Jews against Muslims over the ages.

It wants to re-shape the Muslim world, replacing secular states with a single Islamic political leadership.

It also wants to drive Americans and other non-Muslims from Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam's holiest sites.

Al-Qaeda draws support from people who see the US's military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its support for Israel, as a war against Islam itself.