Al-Qaeda gives European states month to quit Iraq
Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades warn European nations to face London-style attacks if they do not quit Iraq.

By Habib Trabelsi - DUBAI

The Al-Qaeda terror network warned European nations to pull their troops out of Iraq within a month or face more attacks like the deadly London bombings, according to an Internet statement.

"This message is the final warning to European states. We want to give you a one-month deadline to bring your soldiers out from the land of Mesopotamia (Iraq)," said the statement signed by Al-Qaeda group the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades and dated July 16.

After August 15, "there will be no more messages, just actions that will be engraved on the heart of Europe.

"It will be a bloody war in the service of God," said the statement, the authenticity of which could not be verified.

"It's a message we are addressing to the crusaders who are still present in Iraq -- Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain, Italy and those other countries whose troops continue to criss-cross Iraqi territory.

"These are our last words. The mujahedeen, who are on the lookout, will have other words to say in your capitals."

A statement issued in the name of the "Europe Division" of the same Al-Qaeda group claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings on London's public transport system which killed at least 56 people and wounded some 700.

The same group also claimed the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2003 attacks in Istanbul.

"After the laudable strikes that have shaken London and the cities of other Crusaders still present in Iraq, we have renewed the ultimatum that we had given," the statement said.

"We give you all one month to reflect carefully on your policy towards Islam and Muslims.

"We're giving you this deadline so that you stop running behind the United States and the Zionists, without paying attention to the blood that has been shed and continues to be shed in the land of Islam -- in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine."

The statement came amid intense debate in Britain over the role the 2003 invasion of Iraq played in spurring the four British suicide bombers to carry out the deadly attacks.

In a Guardian/ICM poll published Tuesday, two-thirds of respondents said they saw a link, while three-quarters said they considered further attacks likely.

But the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair has continued to deny that the war left Britain more vulnerable to terror attacks, despite a damning report from the respected think-tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades take their name from an Al-Qaeda commander killed during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.