Al-Qaida's No. 2 embraced the London suicide bombings Thursday, warned Britain that more destruction lies ahead and promised tens of thousands of U.S. casualties in Iraq in a brazen assertion of the terror group's global reach.
Ayman al-Zawahri also renewed terror threats to other countries with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming they had shunned Osama bin Laden's offer last year of a truce if foreign forces left the battleground.
In the tape, parts of which were broadcast by Al-Jazeera, al-Zawahri made no direct claim that al-Qaida carried out the July 7 attacks in the British capital, but sought instead to blame the carnage on Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to deploy and keep troops in Iraq. Britain maintains 8,500 forces mainly in southern Iraq.
"Blair has brought to you destruction in central London, and he will bring more of that, God willing," al-Zawahri said.
U.S. President Bush dismissed al-Zawahri's threat, saying, "We will stay on the offense against these people. They're terrorists and they're killers and they will kill innocent people so they can impose their dark vision on the world."
In London, Blair's Downing Street office declined to comment.
Jeremy Bennie, a terrorism analyst for Jane's Defense Weekly, said al-Zawahri appeared to be trying to put an al-Qaida stamp on the July 7 attacks on the London transit system. The bombings killed 56 people, including four attackers.
"He has tacitly taken responsibility by claiming al-Qaida is in control of the situation, even as most people aren't really sure bin Laden and al-Zawahri still are capable of organizing such an attack," Bennie said by telephone.
Thursday marked the seventh time al-Zawahri has used videotapes or audiotapes to speak for al-Qaida since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. The latest appearance followed the Egyptian physician's pattern of issuing threats of further death and destruction if the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan refuse to withdraw troops from the region, including Saudi Arabia — home to two of Islam's holiest shrines.
carnage: the savage and excessive killing of many people（残杀，大屠杀）
tacitly: an action intended to conceal or confuse or obscure（烟幕，障眼法）