In his second statement this week, al Qaeda top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri is threatening more attacks in the United Kingdom.
Al Zawahri acknowledges Tony Blair has left office, and he addresses the United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"As for Blair’s successor, I tell him the policy of your predecessor has brought you catastrophes and defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even in the center of London," says al Zawahri in reference to the July 7, 2005, London suicide bombings. "If you did not learn the lesson, we’re willing to repeat it for you, God willing, until we are assured that you’ve fully understood it," he says in the 20-minute audio statement found on the Internet today.
Al Zawahri criticizes Britain for awarding author of "Satanic Verses" Salman Rushdie the title of knighthood and considers it a "clear message" to Muslims.
"I tell Elizabeth and Blair, your message has arrived, and we are preparing a precise response," he says.
Al Zawahri has released eight statements since the beginning of the year. In this latest audio message, he indicates he uses the Internet.
He says, "While browsing through material published on the information network, I found an article by Abdul Aziz al Rantissi entitled ‘Why Don’t We Besiege America?’"
While the statement’s title is "Malicious Britain and Its Indian Slaves," most of his message is about the militant Islamist movement Hamas and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He repeatedly calls on Hamas’ leadership to reject all previous agreements regarding Palestine and join the broader movement by getting engaged in "one battle for one nation with one creed against one enemy."
Al Zawahri has talked about the Palestinians and specifically addressed Hamas several times in statements issued over the past few months. Hamas has rejected al Zawahri’s previous comments about it.
Al Zawahri also praises an attack on international forces south of Lebanon last month.
"I know that the road in front of the people of Islam and jihad in Lebanon is long and hard, but I give you the good news that the jihadi awakening in the lands of Islam is rebelling — with God’s help and power — against attempts to control and contain it."
He also claims the Saudis are financing the battle against militant groups in the country.
"Those who conspire against jihad and the mujaheddin in Lebanon with the use of American weapons, Zionist complicity and Saudi money, should know that they are digging their own graves," he says.
This is the 61st release by al Qaeda’s "production company" as-Sahab in 2007, according to IntelCenter, which monitors militant Islamist Web sites. As-Sahab, which released a total of 58 videos in 2006, "is currently operating at its highest production level ever. It is averaging a video release every three days," says IntelCenter.