NICOSIA — Ayman al-Zawahiri, the longtime Egyptian number two to Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader killed earlier this month, has called on Saudis to take up this year's wave of Arab revolt.

In an audiotape which the jihadist network's media arm Al-Sahab said was recorded before bin Laden's death on May 2, Zawahiri said it was Western governments that had backed the veteran strongmen in Egypt and Tunisia who were overthrown by popular uprisings earlier this year, US monitoring agency SITE reported.

"Zawahiri addressed the uprisings and current events in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, and called for additional revolutions in Yemen and Saudi Arabia," the monitoring group, which specialises in jihadist websites said.