CAIRO, Egypt – A purported Al Qaeda leader said in an e-mail sent before latest the string of bombings in Iraq that the terrorist network was preparing devastating attacks against Americans during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, an Arab magazine reported Friday.
The London-based weekly Al-Majalla (search) has published statements in the past from the purported Al Qaeda operative, identified as Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj. Among them was one the magazine said it received a day before the May 12 suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia warning of Al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia.
The Al-Majalla reporter in the United Arab Emirates (search) who has received the e-mails, Mahmoud Khalil, told The Associated Press that he received the latest al-Ablaj e-mail last Friday, too late to make that week's edition.
Al Qaeda "is getting ready to stage devastating attacks during the month of Ramadan (search) against Americans that will make young boys' hair turn gray," said the e-mail, whose authenticity could not immediately be verified. It added attacks in Iraq were possible.
Three days later, as Ramadan began, a series of vehicle bombings killed scores of people in Baghdad. Attacks have continued daily since then in the capital and elsewhere in Iraq, where the U.S.-led coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein has been struggling to restore order.
Doubt remains over who is coordinating the attacks, which U.S. officials say are becoming more sophisticated and organized. U.S. and Iraqi officials point at shadowy "foreign fighters," but commanders on the ground say they are uncertain what role, if any, such figures play. Senior officers have avoided tying recent attacks to Al Qaeda.
In an audiotape aired Oct. 18, a voice purporting to be that of Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden said suicide attacks would be launched "inside and outside" America and threatened nations that are helping the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.
Al-Majalla began receiving purported Al Qaeda operative al-Ablaj's e-mails earlier this year. A U.S. counterterrorism official has said al-Ablaj was believed to be a leading Al Qaeda figure also known as Abu Bakr.
In the latest e-mail, al-Ablaj said bin Laden "has issued new orders to his followers about waging a guerrilla war against Arab and Islamic countries ... in which the United States has military or commercial presence."
Another e-mail purported to have been written by al-Ablaj, which Al-Majalla received May 11, warned that Al Qaeda was about to carry out major attacks in Saudi Arabia. Suspected Al Qaeda attackers used car bombs the next day to attack guarded compounds housing Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Those bombings killed 35 people, including nine attackers.