CAIRO, Egypt – One of the four suicide attackers who bombed London’s transit system on July 7 made a dramatic farewell in a videotape broadcast Thursday that also included a warning of more bloodshed from al-Qaida’s No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri.
Speaking English, Mohammad Sidique Khan, a Briton of Pakistani ancestry, said Westerners had failed to heed previous warnings, “therefore we will talk to you in a language that you understand. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.”
The two men did not appear together in the tape – instead, shots of each were edited together – and al-Zawahri did not mention Khan. A newscaster on al-Jazeera, which aired the tape, said Khan’s last “will” came as part of a long tape that consisted mostly of al-Zawahri talking.
While their appearance together in an edited tape appeared to show some level of coordination, it would have been more significant had they appeared together in one portion – indicating that al-Zawahri was a hands-on commander who met directly with attackers.
Nevertheless, the association of the al-Qaida leader and the 30-year-old suicide bomber was the strongest link yet of a role by the terror organization in the attacks on three subway trains and a double-decker bus, which killed 56 people. It was not clear where or how long before the July 7 bombings the tape of Khan had been made.
In the tape, Khan did not claim responsibility for the impending bombings in the name of al-Qaida. But he did say he was inspired by al-Zawahri, and also by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and by the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.
“Until we feel security, you will be our targets,” he said in the tape, addressing himself to Westerners. “Until you will stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight.”
In an apparent foreshadowing of his plan to die, he said: “I’m sure by now the media has painted a suitable picture of me. Its predictable propaganda machine naturally will tack a spin on things to suit the government and scare the masses to conform to their power- and wealth-obsessed agenda.”
Khan spoke with a heavy Yorkshire accent, sported a trimmed beard, wore a red-and-white checked keffiyeh and a dark jacket. The image resembled photos of him published after the deadly attacks.
In his portion of the tape, al-Zawahri did not say outright that his terror group carried out the bombings. But he said the attacks were a direct response to Britain’s foreign policies and its rejection of a truce that al-Qaida offered Europe in April 2004.
He threatened the West with “more catastrophes” in retaliation for the policies of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“I talk to you today about the blessed London battle, which came as a slap to the face of the tyrannical, crusader British arrogance,” al-Zawahri said. “It’s a sip from the glass that the Muslims have been drinking from.”
Khan, a 30-year-old resident of the English city of Leeds, reportedly traveled to Pakistan before he died in the bombing of the London Underground train near Edgware Road.
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