CAIRO, Egypt, (AP) -Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 issued a new audiotape on Tuesday threatening to retaliate against Britain for having honored the novelist Salman Rushdie, a U.S.-based monitoring group said.
Ayman al-Zawahri’s 20 minute speech was entitled “Malicious Britain and its Indian Slaves.” It was produced by as-Sahab, the multimedia wing of al-Qaeda, to be distributed to extremist Web sites, said the U.S.-based SITE, which monitors al-Qaeda messages.
The authenticity of the tape, also reported by Alexandria, Va.-based IntelCenter, could not be independently confirmed.
Osama bin Laden’s deputy lashed out at Britain for having awarded a knighthood to Rushdie last month, saying it was defying the Islamic world by granting the honor to the author of “The Satanic Verses,” deemed to insult Islam.
A “very precise response” is in preparation to retaliate against this offense, al-Zawahri was quoted as saying by SITE.
Addressing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the al-Qaeda deputy chief said Britain’s strategy in the Middle East “has brought tragedy and defeat upon you, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in the center of London.”
“And if you did not understand, listen, we are ready to repeat it for you,” al-Zawahri was quoted as warning the British prime minister.