Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the London bombings for the first time in a video shown on Arab television.
In it, Osama bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahri describes the attacks as a “slap in the face” for the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, adding that they had “moved our battle right to the enemy’s doorstep”. The film appeared to be an extract from a tape previously aired last month in which Zawahri warned Britain and the United States of more attacks. Al-Jazeera also showed footage of Mohammad Sidique Khan, who police believe exploded a device at Edgware Road tube station. He blamed the attacks on Britain’s support for the war on Iraq and said that he and thousands of others were committed to defending Islam against violence by “democratically-elected governments”. At least two groups linked to al Qaeda have already claimed responsibility for the July 7 suicide bombings which killed 52 people. Police suspect Khan led the quartet who blew themselves up on three underground trains and a bus in the British capital. Neither Downing Street nor the Foreign Office would comment on the tape.