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Al Qaeda threatens more UK, U.S. attacks

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Al Qaeda threatens more UK, U.S. attacks

Manage Alerts | What Is This? (CNN) -- Osama bin Laden's No. 2 man in al Qaeda has threatened more destruction in London, saying that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be to blame.

In a video broadcast Thursday on Arabic-language TV station Al Jazeera Ayman al-Zawahiri also issued a warning for the United States.

"To the British, I am telling you that Blair brought you destruction in the middle of London and more will come, God willing," he said.

He appeared to be referring to the two attacks on London's transit system on July 7 and July 21. The first bombings killed 52 commuters and the four bombers. No one was killed in the second attack, in which the bombs failed to detonate.

Al-Zawahiri, a 54-year-old Egyptian doctor, is bin Laden's closest adviser. After the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, the U.S. State Department offered a $25 million award for information leading to al-Zawahiri's apprehension.

In the video, al-Zawahiri also issued several warnings for the United States.

"Our message is clear -- what you saw in New York and Washington (in 2001) and what you are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq, all these are nothing compared to what you will see next."

He also warned the United States to "stop stealing our oil and wealth and stop supporting corrupt rulers."

"If you continue your politics against Muslims, you will see, God willing, such horror that you will forget the horrors of Vietnam."

Al-Zawahiri reminded the United States and its allies of the "hudna" (truce) that bin Laden offered last year in return for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Muslim lands.

"Didn't Osama bin Laden tell you that you would never dream of peace until we actually live it in Palestine and before all the infidel armies withdraw from the land of Mohammed?

"Instead (of accepting the truce), you spilled rivers of blood in our countries, and we exploded volcanoes of anger in your countries."

He told the American people that their leaders are lying to them about the Iraq war and called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces.

"The truth that has been kept from you by (President) Bush, (Secretary of State Condoleezza) Rice and (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld is that there is no way out of Iraq without immediate withdrawal, and any delay on this means only more dead, more losses.

"If you don't leave today, certainly you will leave tomorrow, and after tens of thousands of dead, and double that figure in disabled and wounded."

A U.S. intelligence official told CNN the video was being analyzed, but quickly pointed out that "there has never been a false tape" from al-Zawahiri.

Another U.S. official did not read much into the fact that al-Zawahiri and not bin Laden made the videotape. The official said there have been few videotapes of bin Laden since the September 11 attacks, and most of the time it has been hard to determine when the tapes were made because there is either no audio or the message did not contain any timely references.

The last time bin Laden released a statement was in an audiotape late last December when he praised Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and designated him the al Qaeda leader in Iraq.

Al-Zawahiri made no mention of the July 23 bombings in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh that killed at least 83 people and injured more than 200 others, which could indicate the tape was made before that date.

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Al-Qaeda 'blames Blair for bombs'

Osama Bin Laden's lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri has warned London will face more attacks because of Tony Blair's foreign policy decisions.

His comments were made in a videotape which was broadcast on Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera.

The al-Qaeda deputy said: "Blair has brought you destruction to the heart of London, and he will bring more destruction, God willing."

Mr Blair denies his policies provoked the 7 July bombs, which killed 56.

Al-Zawahri also warned the US that Iraq would be worse than Vietnam.

Downing Street refused to comment on the latest al-Qaeda tape.

Some critics, including MP George Galloway, said the war in Iraq had helped to spark the attacks on London.

But Mr Blair has said the Iraq war is merely an excuse for those who want to attack the UK.

He has acknowledged Iraq is being used to recruit terrorists, but insisted the roots of extremism were much deeper.

In the tape al-Zawahri - who wore a white tunic with black turban and posed next to a rifle - also warned other nations to leave Muslim lands to avoid further violence.

And he said: "What you have seen, O Americans, in New York and Washington and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of all the media blackout, are only the losses of the initial clashes.

"If you continue the same policy of aggression against Muslims, God willing, you will see the horror that will make you forget what you had seen in Vietnam."

'Dark vision'

President Bush said al-Zawahri's comments would not prompt the US to withdraw from Iraq.

"We will stay on the offense against these people.

"They're terrorists and they're killers and they will kill innocent people... so they can impose their dark vision on the world," he said.

Police are still investigating the bombings on Tube trains at Aldgate, Russell Square and Edgware Road, as well as a bus in Tavistock Square, and are also holding 15 people over the failed 21 July attacks.

Police presence

There is a massive police presence on London's streets, with 6,000 officers watching for a repeat of the attacks two and four weeks ago.

A high-visibility police presence in the capital is aimed at making the public feel safe, while undercover officers are mingling with passengers on Tubes and buses trying to spot would-be bombers.

Although police have received no intelligence about another attack, all leave has been cancelled and detectives drafted into uniform.

Extra officers have also been brought in from outside the capital and retired officers persuaded to return to help with the anti-terror work.

Thursday also saw the first person charged over the 21 July attacks appear in court. Ismael Abdurahman, 23, of Kennington, London, is charged with failing to disclose information about suspected Shepherd's Bush bomber Hussain Osman.

He has been remanded in custody for a week.

Al-Zawahri last appeared in a video in June, saying Muslims should not rely on peaceful protests but should also use violence. He also appeared in a video in February.

The Egyptian-born mastermind is thought to be Bin Laden's deputy and to have been hiding in the rugged border areas of either Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Story from BBC NEWS:

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