Al-Qaida Tape Warns of More Bloodshed
London Suicide Attacker Appears on Tape With bin Laden Ally
By SALLY BUZBEE, AP
Al-Jazeera via APTN / APAyman al-Zawahri, shown in an image broadcast Aug. 9, said the July 7 London attacks were a "slap" at Prime Minister Tony Blair.
CAIRO, Egypt (Sept. 2) - One of the four suicide attackers who bombed London's transit system on July 7 made a dramatic farewell in a videotape that also included al-Qaida's No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri calling the subway attack "a slap to the face" of Britain and warning of more bloodshed.
Mohammad Sidique Khan, a Briton of Pakistani ancestry, said in the tape broadcast on Thursday that Westerners had failed to heed previous warnings. "Therefore we will talk to you in a language that you understand. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood."
The two men did not appear together in the tape - instead, shots of each were edited together - and al-Zawahri did not mention Khan. A newscaster on al-Jazeera, which aired the tape, said Khan's last "will" came as part of a long tape that consisted mostly of al-Zawahri talking.
But the association of the al-Qaida leader and the 30-year-old suicide bomber was the strongest link yet of a role by the terror organization in the attacks on three subway trains and a double-decker bus, which killed 56 people.
It was not clear where or how long before the July 7 bombings the tape of Khan had been made.
Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, was one of the July 7 bombers.
Khan did not claim responsibility in the tape for the impending bombings in the name of al-Qaida. But he said he was inspired by al-Zawahri, by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and by the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.
"Until we feel security, you will be our targets," he said, addressing himself to Westerners. "Until you will stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight."
Apparently foreshadowing his plan to die, he said: "I'm sure by now the media has painted a suitable picture of me. Its predictable propaganda machine naturally will tack a spin on things to suit the government and scare the masses to conform to their power- and wealth-obsessed agenda."
Khan spoke with a heavy Yorkshire accent, sported a trimmed beard, wore a red-and-white checked keffiyeh and a dark jacket and appeared to be sitting against a wall lined with an ornate carpet.
In his remarks, al-Zawahri did not say outright that his terror group carried out the bombings but said the attacks were a direct response to Britain's foreign policies and its rejection of a truce that al-Qaida offered Europe in April 2004.
He threatened the West with "more catastrophes" in retaliation for the policies of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"I talk to you today about the blessed London battle, which came as a slap to the face of the tyrannical, crusader British arrogance," al-Zawahri said. "It's a sip from the glass that the Muslims have been drinking from."
"Blair," he said, "not only disregards the millions of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he does not care about you as he sends you to the inferno in Iraq and exposes you to death in your land because of his crusader war against Islam."
Al-Zawahri appeared in black turban and white robes with an automatic weapon leaning against the wall beside him, as he did in a previous tape aired Aug. 4 when he made similar threats. He and bin Laden are both thought to be hiding along the rugged Afghan-Pakistani border.
Khan, a 30-year-old resident of the English city of Leeds, reportedly traveled to Pakistan before he died in the bombing of the London Underground train near Edgware Road.
Khan said he had forsaken "everything for what we believe" and went on to accuse Western civilians of being responsible for the terror attacks against them.
"Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate injustice against my people all over the world, and your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters," he said.
In London, a police spokeswoman said authorities would consider the tape "as part of our ongoing investigation." Blair's office refused to comment.
Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the message's sensitive nature, said al-Qaida would regard the London bombings as a victory whether or not they were involved.
The deputy chief editor of al-Jazeera, Ayman Gaballah, said the broadcaster received the tape Thursday by means it would not disclose. The tape was 15 minutes long and contained several clips of fighting in Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Gaballah spoke to The Associated Press in a call from Doha.
Associated Press reporters Katherine Shrader in Washington and Maamoun Youssef and Nadia Abou el-Magd in Cairo contributed to this story.
09/02/05 08:20 EDT