Al-Qaida chief Zawahri foretells more attacks on Europe

Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahri warned in a videotape broadcast by al-Jazeera satellite TV on Aug 4, 2005 that Al-Qaida will wage more attacks in London, and he said British Prime Minister Tony Blair's policies should be responsible for the attacks. He also promised tens of thousands of U.S. casualties in Iraq in a brazen assertion of the terror group's global reach.

Ayman al-Zawahri also renewed terror threats to other countries with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming they had shunned Osama bin Laden's offer last year of a truce if foreign forces left the battleground.

In the tape al-Zawahri made no direct claim that al-Qaida carried out the July 7 attacks in the British capital, but sought instead to blame the carnage on Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to deploy and keep troops in Iraq. Britain maintains 8,500 forces mainly in southern Iraq.

"Blair has brought to you destruction in central London, and he will bring more of that, God willing," al-Zawahri was quoted as saying by London Free Press.

"What you have seen in New York, Washington and Afghanistan are only the initial losses," said Zawahri, referring to the September 11 2001 attacks on the US, for which al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.

"If you (the US) continue the same hostile policies, you will see something that will make you forget the horrors you have seen in Vietnam," he added.

U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed al-Zawahri's threat, saying, "We will stay on the offence against these people. They're terrorists and they're killers and they will kill innocent people . . . so they can impose their dark vision on the world."

In London, Blair's Downing Street office declined comment.

Thursday marked the seventh time al-Zawahri has used videotapes or audiotapes to speak for al-Qaida since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. The latest appearance followed the Egyptian physician's pattern of issuing threats of further death and destruction if the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan refuse to withdraw troops from the region, including Saudi Arabia - home to two of Islam's holiest shrines.

Al-Zawahri issued the fresh threats with a Kalashnikov rifle propped against a woven cloth background that moved with the wind and showed the sunlight, suggesting the scene was filmed outdoors.

He wore a white robe and black turban and emphatically wagged his finger while speaking.

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