09:54 AM EDT Aug 04
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri threatened more destruction in London, saying in a videotape broadcast Thursday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be to blame.
"Blair has brought to you destruction in central London, and he will bring more of that, God willing," al-Zawahri said in the tape, which was broadcast on the Arab all-news satellite channel Al-Jazeera. He was blaming Blair for the bombings on three London subway trains and a bus on July 7 that killed 56 people.
In London, Blair's Downing Street office declined to comment on the broadcast. Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who merged his militant faction with that of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, spoke with a Kalashnikov rifle propped up against a plain background.
Referring to the western nations who have contributed troops to the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq, he said: "As to the nations of the crusader alliance, we have offered you a truce if you leave the land of Islam."
"Hasn't Sheik Osama bin Laden told you that you will not dream of security before there is security in Palestine and before all the infidel armies withdraw from the land of Muhammad?" al-Zawahri added, referring to the leader of the al-Qaida network, bin Laden.
"Instead (of accepting the truce), you spilled blood like rivers in our countries and we exploded the volcanoes of wrath in your countries."
He did not name any countries apart from Britain, but he appeared to be referring to the terror attacks in Madrid, Spain, last year that were linked to al-Qaida.
"Our message is clear: you will not be safe until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and wealth and stop supporting the corrupt rulers," al-Zawahri said.
It was the first videotape to appear from al-Zawahri since September 2004, when he said that the United States was on the brink of defeat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. That tape was also broadcast on Al-Jazeera.
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