Islamic leader warns London is attack target

Various groups sympathetic to al-Qaida are preparing large-scale attacks against London, the leader of an Islamic group has said in remarks published in Portugal.

    London will be hit by a big operation, says group leader

    Shaikh Umar Bakri Muhammad, the head of the London-based group al-Muhajirun, added on Sunday in an interview with the Portuguese daily Publico that last month's deadly Madrid train bombings were carried out by a group of independent actors who back Usama bin Ladin's organisation. 

    "There are many youths who dream of joining al-Qaida, but worse than that, there are many 'freelancers' who are willing to launch operations similar to those by al-Qaida," he said. "The attack in Madrid was carried out by one of those groups." 

    "Here in London there is a very well-organised group, which
    calls itself al-Qaida-Europe," he added. "I know they are on the verge of launching a big operation." 

    Bakri Muhammad, who is suspected of having links with Abu
    Qatada, an alleged al-Qaida leader in Europe, said it was
    "inevitable" that London would be hit by a large attack "because they are being prepared by various groups." 

    Police in Britain have arrested several suspects since the discovery of the deadly poison, ricin, in a north London apartment in January. 

    Spanish authorities meanwhile have blamed al-Qaida, the hardline group headed by Usama bin Laden, for the 11 March commuter train bombings which killed 191 people and injured around 1900.



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