Skip to main content
Search
Services
WORLD

Official: Doubt on al-Zawahiri claim

From Pam Benson
CNN Washington Bureau

story.zawahiri.aljazeera.jpg
Ayman al-Zawahiri in a videotape released Monday

SPECIAL REPORT

QUICKVOTE

Do you think al Qaeda "has managed to recover from the loss of Afghanistan?"
Yes
No
or View Results

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

London
Afghanistan
Jihad
Taliban

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. counterterrorism official says the newly released tape of Osama bin Laden's chief deputy does not in itself demonstrate that al Qaeda planned or directed the terrorist attacks in London last July.

In the tape broadcast Monday on the Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed responsibility for the July bombings on mass transit in downtown London.

The first attack on July 7 killed 56 people, including the four bombers. Two weeks later, four bombs failed to detonate.

The U.S. official said this is not the first time al Qaeda has hinted at responsibility for the attacks.

Al-Zawahiri appeared on a previous tape in which he blamed the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush for the bombings.

But the counterterrorism official said al Qaeda seemed "content to take credit for any terrorist attacks."

The official pointed to what he called the "stepped up propaganda efforts" by al Qaeda, attempts, he said, to get "better play" in Western media.

For instance, al-Zawahiri's tape contained English subtitles. And earlier this month, officials believe American-born Adam Gadahn appeared on a videotape, praising the attacks on London and Madrid, Spain, and threatening future ones in Los Angeles, California, and Melbourne, Australia.

The counterterrorism official believes al Qaeda was using Gadahn for propaganda purposes because his American citizenship and perfect English would "resonate more" in the West.

The FBI is seeking information on Gadahn's whereabouts. He is listed as "armed and dangerous" on the FBI web site.

Intelligence officials would not comment on the authenticity of the latest al-Zawahiri tape, other than to say, "We've never had a fake one." (Full story)

Although there have been a number of al-Zawahiri videotapes this year, bin Laden has not been seen on a tape since last October.

Officials believe bin Laden is alive and have seen nothing to substantiate recent reports about the al Qaeda leader's ill health.

One official said security concerns were most likely keeping bin Laden in the shadows.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Search JobsMORE OPTIONS


 
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines