Al-Qaida deputy Ayman al-Zawahri said his terror network carried out the July 7 London bombings in a statement broadcast Monday, marking the group's first direct claim of responsibility for the attacks that killed 52 people.
"The blessed London attack was one which al-Qaida was honored to launch against the British Crusader's arrogance and against the American Crusader aggression on the Islamic nation for 100 years," al-Zawahri said in the tape aired on Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV.
"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 someone who was interviewing him 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, AP reported.