In his Aug. 4 video-communique, al-Qaeda bigshot Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that the 7-7 bombings were payback for British participation in the United States' "policy of aggression against Muslims." While not directly taking credit for the London bombings, he promised more attacks on Britain, the US and other allies, saying "tens of thousands" more American troops will be killed in Iraq if there isn't an immediate withdrawal. Bob Ayers, a counterterrorism expert at Chatham House, Britain's most prestigious think-tank, says: "By linking the bombings to Iraq, he basically sent the message that no matter what Blair says, Iraq is the reason. He's calling Blair a liar." (CSM, Aug. 5, via TruthOut)
More arrests in the London attacksthis time of Somali immigrants in Birmingham. From Saudi Arabia's English-language Arab News, July 28:
In a dramatic breakthrough yesterday, Scotland Yard confirmed they have arrested 24 -year-old Yasin Hassan Omar, one of the four failed bombers who tried to detonate a bomb in Warren Street tube station last Thursday.
A Muslim-owned store in a Leeds suburb was set ablaze the night of July 22 in what police called a racially motivated attack. No one was injured in the fire, which destroyed a convenience store in the suburb of Harehills. But the attack, which occurred across the street from the Bilal mosque in the working-class section of town, is being investigated as a "malicious incident." Iqbal Khan, the owner of the store, said the fire began when four white youths started setting merchandise ablaze, then ran out. He said he was able to escape before the store went up in flames.
Another attempted multiple simultaneous bombing on the London transit system, which fortunately seems to have failed--but not without sparking another death on the Underground, this time at the hands of the police. (Remember when London "bobbies" famously didn't carry guns?) And now police are conducting random searches on the New York subways. (NYT, July 22) A press release from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) protests the policy as unconstitutional (thank goodness!), but doesn't say they will challenge it in court. From TruthOut:
Terror returns to London
July 21st 2005
From The Economist Global Agenda
Exactly two weeks after the deadly bombings of London’s transport system on July 7th, Britain’s capital has been hit by a fresh wave of attacks—though with few casualties this time. Were the four reported explosions the work of further members of the Islamist group that struck last time—or unrelated “copycats"
UK Gay Leaders Receive Death Threats From Muslim Fundamentalists Group Says
by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief
Posted: July 18, 2005 8:00 pm ET
(London) A British LGBT civil rights group says its leaders have received death threats from Muslim fundamentalists and warns that gay clubs could be targets for terrorist bombers.
We've been waiting for London's famously leftist Mayor Ken Livingstone to state the obvious about the bombings. Finally, he has. Blair, meanwhile, remains in denial, at least officially. We wonder: is he really this deluded, or just sticking to a political script? Via TruthOut:
A report in today's Newsday tells of a meeting at London's Finsbury Park mosque, where prominent Muslim leaders signed a statement condemning the 7-7 attacks, under a banner reading "A New Beginning." But there was also a sign at the mosque warning gatherers that they were under government surveillance, and rather than a new beginning it looks more like the same old pattern is becoming more entrenched. The government is considering draconian "anti-terror" legislation, while Islamist hardliners gain legitimacy in reaction...