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Muslim Cleric: Al Qaeda Partly Responsible for Attacks

A radical Muslim cleric said Saturday he believed Al Qaeda terrorists were involved in this week's simultaneous terror attacks on an Israeli-owned airliner and resort hotel in Kenya.

"You are going to see this repeated all the time. With so many members of Al Qaeda all over the place," said Abu Hamza al-Masri, who leads prayers at London's Finsbury Park mosque.

Al-Masri, suspected by Washington of having links to Al Qaeda, said the dispersal of the terrorist network after the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan meant members were becoming more active in regional disputes.

"By forcing Al Qaeda to scatter around the world, Mr. Bush has made a mistake. He has given the inspiration for a global jihad," Al-Masri said of the American president.

Al-Masri also said the news media and the United Nations were to blame for "global pressure against Islam."

Al-Masri's funds were frozen by the U.S. Treasury for his alleged membership in the Islamic Army of Aden. That organization is linked to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network and claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, in which 17 American sailors were killed.

The cleric has held British citizenship since 1985, which protects him from extradition to Yemen, where he is wanted in connection with several bombings.

Another London-based Muslim cleric, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, said that Islamic groups sympathetic to Al Qaeda were warned of an attack on Kenya last week in Internet chat rooms.

"They said that there would be good news for all Muslims, that soon there will be a Jihad and Israelis will pay a heavy price in East Africa," said Muhammad, leader of the Al-Muhajiroun group.

Muhammad said the message also contained a warning for Britain and Australia.

"It said to avoid government buildings, the stock exchange, embassies and other places like that in Britain. It was not as specific for Australia," he said.

Two shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles were launched against an Israeli charter jet leaving Mombasa airport on Thursday, narrowly missing the Arika Airlines Boeing 757 with 261 passengers and 10 crew members. It landed safely in Tel Aviv, Israel, with no casualties.

A few minutes later, a vehicle packed with explosives broke through the gate at the oceanside Paradise Hotel. One attacker ran into the lobby and blew himself up, while two others exploded the vehicle. The bombs killed 10 Kenyans, three Israelis and the three bombers.

Security officials Saturday were questioning 10 foreigners -- six Pakistani men and four Somali men.