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Bomber accuses UK of oppressing Muslims

In the tape, which appeared on a website recently, the bomber gives his motives for taking part in the London bombings.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 17:55 IST

Two of the four suicide bombers who attacked London a year ago had spent time at an Al-Qaeda camp to prepare themselves for a suicide attack, the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda said in an Internet video on Friday.

Ayman al-Zawahri said on the video that Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan had come to a base of Al-Qaeda.

It was known that the two British Muslims from north England had visited Pakistan, but al-Zawahri's comment was the first confirmation that they had been to an Al-Qaeda camp.

"Both of them were seeking martyrdom and wished that they could carry out a martyrdom operation," al-Zawahri said, using the Islamic euphemism for a suicide attack.

He said that while they were at the camp, Tanweer and Khan paid no heed to militants who discussed other things, "because the goal for which they came to Al-Qaeda's jihad base was to carry out a martyrdom operation."

Al-Zawahri did not say where the Al-Qaeda camp was, or when the bombers trained there. The terror network is believed to be based on along the Pakistani-Afghan border.

The tape, which appeared on an Islamic website known for carrying militant messages, was the full version of what the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera broadcast in edited form on Thursday.

It contained a long testimonial from Tanweer in which he gave his motives for taking part in the London bombings of July 7, 2005.

Tanweer, Khan and two other British suicide bombers killed 52 people in the attacks on the city's underground train and bus system.

"For the non-Muslims in Britain, you may wonder what you have done to deserve this," Tanweer told Britons on the tape.

Britons continue to oppress "our mothers and children, brothers and sisters from the east to the west in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya," he said, speaking with a thick north English accent.

"Your government has openly support for the genocide of more than 150,000 innocent Muslims in Fallujah," he said, referring to the west Iraqi town where US forces fought Islamic militants for several weeks.

"You have openly declared war on Islam," he added. Glancing down at his text, which was off-camera, Tanweer said: "I tell every British citizen to stop your support to your lying British government and to the so-called war on terror.

And ask yourselves: why would thousands of men be ready to give their lives for the cause of Muslims?."

At the Tanweer family home in Beeston, West Yorkshire, 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of London, a front window bore a sign on Friday telling journalists to stay away.

After an excerpt of the tape appeared on Al-Jazeera on Thursday, a friend of the family, Irshad Hussain, said Tanweer's relatives would be "devastated" to see the video.

"What you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a series of attacks that will continue and increase in strength until you withdraw your soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq," Tanweer said in the excerpt broadcast on Thursday.