msnbc.com news services
updated 9/19/2005 5:27:08 PM ET 2005-09-19T21:27:08

Al-Qaida's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri, in a videotape aired on Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera on Monday, said the London suicide bombings were carried out by the militant group to strike at “British arrogance.”

“The London attack is one of the attacks that al-Qaida ... had the honor of carrying out against Zionist, British arrogance, the aggression of the crusader British against the Muslim nation for over a hundred years” Zawahri said on the tape.

He denounced Britain for “the historical crime of setting up Israel and the continuing crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

“These and other attacks have revealed the true hypocritical face of Western civilization that talks about human rights and freedom only as long as it is in its interest,” he said, citing the planned toughening of British security laws after the London blasts.

‘Great lessons’ from the bombers
“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 in the tape wearing a white turban and speaking to an interviewer off camera.

In another tape aired Sept. 2, al-Zawahri, who is thought to be hiding along the rugged Afghan-Pakistani border, issued a veiled claim of responsibility for the attacks that also killed the four bombers.

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

Al Jazeera said the video was prepared by al-Qaida to mark the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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