Qaedaâ€™s Zawahri threatens more attacks in UK
UAE: Al Qaedaâ€™s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, on Tuesday
threatened more attacks on Britain, two weeks after two failed bombings
and criticised the countryâ€™s decision to award author Salman Rushdie a
â€śI say to (Former British Prime Minister Tony) Blairâ€™s successor that
the policy of your predecessor drew catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq
and even in the centre of London,â€ť the Egyptian cleric said in an audio
tape posted on the Internet.
â€śIf you did not learn the lesson then we are ready to repeat it, God
willing, until we are sure you have fully understood.â€ť
It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the
20-minute tape, which appeared on a Web site used by al Qaeda-linked
groups with a still photograph of Zawahri.
The recording came just days after two car bombs were found in London
and a fuel-packed jeep was rammed into Glasgow Airport in Scotland â€”
botched attacks which Prime Minister Gordon Brown said were associated
with al Qaeda.
Zawahri also attacked Britainâ€™s controversial decision to award
Rushdie a knighthood, saying Queen Elizabeth had sent a clear message to
Muslims by honouring a novelist who had insulted Islam, and said the
group was preparing a response.
Zawahri said the least Muslims could do was to boycott British goods
to protest Rushdieâ€™s knighthood.
A spokesman for Brown rejected Zawahriâ€™s comments.
â€śWe do not intend to dignify this with a response,â€ť the spokesman
said. â€śAs the prime minister has said, the British people will remain
united, resolute and strong and we will not allow terrorists to
undermine the British way of life.â€ť
Zawahri, who has spoken out regularly in audio-taped messages in
recent months, also called on Muslims in Pakistan to fight President
Pervez Musharraf, whose forces killed a rebel Islamist leader and more
than 50 militants on Tuesday when they stormed an Islamabad mosque
compound after a week-long siege.
â€śAn Islamic emirate in Afghanistan is the hope for real change in the
region and hopefully the final blow to the Crusaders ... in South Asia.â€ť
Zawahri, who last year called for attacks on United Nations
peacekeepers patrolling Lebanonâ€™s southern border with Israel, also
blessed a bombing that killed six Spanish troops in June and called for
Zawahri repeated earlier calls on Hamas to reject all international
accords with Israel, U.N. resolutions and a Saudi-brokered deal with the
rival Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. White House
calls meeting on al Qaeda threat.Meanwhile the White House has called an
urgent multi-agency meeting today discuss a potential new al Qaeda
threat on U.S. soil, ABC News reported on Tuesday.
Top intelligence and law enforcement officials have been told to meet
in the White House Situation Room to report on steps to minimize or
counter the threat and what steps are being taken to tighten security at
government buildings, ABC said.
The meeting would be one of a number convened in light of new
intelligence and information learned from the recent failed car bomb
attempts in London, ABC reported, citing a senior U.S. administration
The unnamed official told ABC the level of concern of a new attack in
the United States was now higher than it had been in some time.
A White House spokeswoman confirmed that after the attempted attacks
in the United Kingdom, the U.S. government convened meetings to discuss
the situation but added there was no credible evidence of an imminent
â€śCounter-terrorism officials regularly meet, that is not unusual. We
are taking all threats seriously and working to ensure we can keep the
terrorists from striking at innocent people,â€ť White House spokeswoman
Emily Lawrimore said in an e-mail.
Law enforcement officials said the botched bombings in London
provided clues about possible tactics, ABC reported.
Dubai, Washington, Wednsday, Reuters.