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Al Qaeda claims responsibility for subway attacks in videotape where London bomber issued call to arms

September 2, 2005

Now that is has been established that the four London bombers were part of an Al Qaeda cell, the question remains as to how many more there are waiting to be next.

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for London blasts

Friday, September 2, 2005 (London):

Al-Qaida's No 2 made the terror group's first direct claim of responsibility for the July 7 bombings in London in a tape broadcast on Thursday.

The tape also included a farewell warning to the West from a young man identified as one of the four suicide attackers.

The channel broadcast late on Thursday night a new tape by Al-Qaida's No 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, and the last testament of one of the suicide bombers of the July 7 attacks in London.

Al Jazeera told APTN that the channel received two tapes showing the two men separately.

In its 2000GMT news bulletin, Al -jazeera showed comments, first from a man who Al Jazeera claims is July 7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan and than from al-Zawahri.

West slammed

The alleged bomber was shown wearing a red-and-white checked keffiyeh and a dark jacket. He had a trimmed beard and appeared to be sitting against a wall lined with an ornate carpet.

The man looked similar to images of him that were published after the deadly attacks that killed 52 commuters on London trains and a bus on July 7.

Speaking English with a distinct Yorkshire accent, the bomber identified as Mohammad Sidique Khan said he had forsaken "everything for what we believe" and went on to accuse Western civilians of being directly responsible for the terror attacks that befall 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," Khan said.

Khan said he was inspired by Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida No 2 Ayman al-Zawahri, who also appeared on the tape and by the leader of Al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.

Another threat

In a separate tape, Al-Zawahri appeared in black turban and white robes with an automatic weapon leaning against the wall beside him.

Al-Zawahri threatened the West with "more catastrophes" in retaliation for the policies of US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He did not say outright that his terror group carried out the bombings on the London transport system that killed 56 people. But he 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.

Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the message's sensitive nature, said that any claim of responsibility did not necessarily indicate that Al-Qaida planned or directed the attack.

The officials said Al-Qaida would regard the London bombings as a victory whether they were directly involved in them or not.

Khan and Al-Zawahri did not appear together in the tape but shots of each were edited together.

While their appearance together in an edited tape appeared to show some level of coordination, it would have been more significant had they appeared together in one portion - indicating that al-Zawahri was a hands-on commander who met directly with an attacker.

Khan, 30, was a Leeds resident who died in the bombing of the London Underground train near Edgware Road.

In London, police said they were aware of the tape and that it will be considered as part of the ongoing investigation.

After the Madrid bombings in March 2004, bin Laden was reported to have offered European countries a three-month cease-fire in which he invited them to consider his demands.

In the weeks immediately after the July 7 London attacks, there were at least two purported claims of responsibility on Islamic Web sites. But both were from groups who have made dubious claims in the past.

In a tape aired August 4, al-Zawahri did not directly claim that Al-Qaida carried out the July 7 bombings or the failed July 21 attacks that followed.

But he brought the July 7 attacks under Al-Qaida's wing and depicted the terror network as still capable of delivering strikes around the world despite arrests in Europe and blows against its leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (AP)


London suicide bomber's videotape "a call to arms" 02 Sep 2005 14:36:42 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Michael Holden

LONDON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - A video statement by a suicide bomber who attacked London was designed as a call to arms to radical British Muslims but the tape aired on television overstated al Qaeda's role, security experts said on Friday.

In a brief declaration, Mohammad Sidique Khan, the suspected ringleader of the July 7 attacks on London's transport system that killed 52 people, said his actions were a response to the "atrocities" committed by Western governments against Muslims.

"We are at war and I am a soldier," Khan said on a tape aired by Arabic television station Al Jazeera on Thursday.

Analysts said Khan's comments were potentially more dangerous because they made no direct reference to the Iraq war but instead were a generic attempt to inspire similar acts.

"It's a recruitment pitch, it's a call to arms, it's telling the Muslim community to get more active," said former U.S. intelligence officer Bob Ayers, who is now based in Britain.

The statement could also have more impact among British Muslims because it was delivered by a Briton in a strong accent from Yorkshire in northern England, shorn of the religious metaphors that normally characterise al Qaeda declarations.

British police initially said they expected to find a direct link between the attacks and al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's militant Islamist group. But they have said they have yet to find such a connection.

"It's one thing to see bin Laden on a screen talking in Arabic but being translated haltingly into English or with subtitles," Hungarian-based analyst Sebestyen Gorka said.

"The question is: is the BBC, is CNN going to be prepared to be the voicebox and show it repeatedly in its original format as Al Jazeera did?" he told Reuters.

"If that is the case, I think it's probably going to be far more efficacious than many of the statements that have been made already."

The British government has made no comment on Khan's statement.

"We are awaiting the police assessment of the video," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told reporters on Friday.


Al Jazeera described the tape, which also included a separate statement from al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri, as an al Qaeda claim of responsibility for the attacks, carried out by Khan and three other British Muslims.

Several experts have said al Qaeda probably did not play a major role, if any, in the bombings.

"They were merely inspirers and instigators, they had no operational control," al Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna said.

However that did not mean there were no links or that the bombers themselves were amateurs.

"It (the video) places them ... in the middle of a highly radicalised, highly motivated and well connected and well thought out operation," said Shane Brighton of Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

He added the group was "sufficiently well connected" to al Qaeda for it to get hold of the tape.

Gunaratna said it was a very important development that the London bombers did not belong to any group and were merely inspired by the concept of global jihad.

He warned: "The most significant thing is that Europe has started now to produce a new generation of European Muslim suicide bombers, and there will be many that will emulate this."

(Additional reporting by Mark Trevelyan)

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