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.