- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2005

CAIRO — Al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said in a statement broadcast yesterday that his terror network carried out the July 7 London bombings, marking the group’s first direct claim of responsibility for the attacks that killed 52 persons.

“The blessed London attack was one which al Qaeda was honored to launch against the British crusader’s arrogance and against the American crusader aggression on the Islamic nation for 100 years,” al-Zawahri said in the tape aired on Al Jazeera TV.

“In their final testament, the heroic brothers in the London attacks … provided great lessons to the Islamic nation and Muslims in Pakistan to oppose the infidels,” said al-Zawahri, who was shown wearing a white turban.

The attacks also killed the four bombers.

A spokeswoman for London’s Metropolitan Police said she had no immediate comment on the tape.

Al-Zawahri also challenged the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections Sunday, saying they were held “under the terror of the lords of war,” an apparent reference to the country’s government.

The election reference suggested the tape was made recently. Al Jazeera showed five minutes of it.

The Egyptian-born al-Zawahri also denounced U.S. demands for political reform around the world, including in Islamic countries.

“The Americans will not allow any Islamic regime to take power in the heart of the Islamic world unless it is a regime collaborating with them as happens in Iraq,” he said.

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