The Daily Telegraph: Al-Zawahiri: 'More destruction will come to London, God willing'

 

July 7 survivor: 'They are warped individuals. We can't let them win'

Daily Telegraph, The/The Sunday Telegraph (London, England) (Published as Daily Telegraph, The (London, England)) - August 5, 2005

  • Author/Byline: Tim Butcher Middle East Correspondent

 

THE deputy leader of al-Qa'eda gave warning yesterday of a sustained terrorist campaign against Britain, blaming Tony Blair for last month's bombs in London.

 

In a videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera television four weeks after the July 7 suicide bombings Ayman al-Zawahiri, a fugitive with a pounds 15 million price on his head, hinted that the attacks were the work of al-Qa'eda.

 

"We exploded volcanoes of anger in your countries,'' he said. "To the British, I am telling you that Blair brought you destruction in the middle of London and more will come, God willing.''

 

His threat of further attacks will cause alarm in the security services.

 

As the tape was broadcast, 6,000 police officers fanned out across London, the largest deployment since 1945, after worries that the four weeks since the suicide attacks would be marked by fresh atrocities.

 

At times crowing, at others more conciliatory, Zawahiri provided the fullest account of al-Qa'eda policy in months. Nothing has been heard from the organisation's leader, Osama bin Laden, since a video message published last November.

 

Although Zawahiri did not refer directly to the London bombings, his words suggested that al-Qa'eda, or one of its affiliates, was responsible for the attacks that killed 52 people and the four bombers.

 

Survivors of the attacks were in defiant mood, expressing pity for the bombers but contempt for the masterminds behind the plot.

 

Garri Holness, 36, who had a leg amputated after the blast at King's Cross, said: "I think the people responsible are warped individuals who were brainwashed.

 

"I feel sorry for them in a sense because they did not have a brain to think that what they were doing was wrong. I don't hate them. I hate the people who made them think they were going to be martyrs.

 

"Those people are turning normal people against Muslims because they have taken sections of the Koran, watered it down and brainwashed people to get them to believe what they are doing is correct. It is not correct. They are not martyrs. They are not going to Heaven because they have killed innocent people.''

 

Referring to his ordeal, Mr Holness said: "I remember hearing a girl scream, 'I've lost my leg, I've lost my leg.' That made me look down at my own leg. My left foot was at a funny angle.

 

"I thought two trains had collided. I could see people around screaming and shouting and I remember thinking that I had to stay calm.

 

"I don't allow myself to have a bad day. If I have a bad day, then they will have won. I won't let them beat me.''

 

Zawahiri, who is believed by some to be as influential in al-Qa'eda as bin Laden, wore a white robe and black turban from which a scarf draped on to his shoulder in the style of a traditional imam as he issued his warning. He repeatedly pointed at the camera. Behind him an assault rifle fitted with a grenade launcher was propped against a wall.

 

He said: "Our message is clear - what you saw in New York and Washington [on September 11] and what you are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq, all these are nothing compared to what you will see next. If you go on with the same policy of aggression against Muslims, you will see, with God's will, something that will make you forget the horrible things that you saw in Vietnam.''

 

Zawahiri, who was born in Egypt and became an eye surgeon, railed against America and urged it to "stop stealing our oil and wealth and stop supporting corrupt rulers''.

 

Referring to the US, Britain and the other nations which contributed to the invasion of Iraq, he said: "Hasn't Sheikh 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 Mohammed?

 

"Instead [of heeding that], you spilled rivers of blood in our countries and we exploded volcanoes of anger in your countries.''

 

The reference to the land of Mohammed meant Saudi Arabia, the home of Mecca and birthplace of bin Laden.

 

In his previous tape, Zawahiri was particularly critical of Egypt. Last month a triple bombing at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, claimed at least 64 lives, although it is unclear if al-Qa'eda was responsible.

 

Downing Street declined to respond to he tape.

 

But last night President George W Bush said he would not be deterred by al-Qa'eda's threats and would "stay on the offensive against these people''