WASHINGTON – Usama bin Laden is still in control of the Al Qaeda (search) terror network and he or his lieutenants may have sponsored the terror bombings in London and Egypt this past week, say counter-terrorism experts in the United States.
However, the group appears to be suffering as a result of operations in Iraq, the experts added.
On Saturday, terrorists struck without warning in Egypt's popular seaside tourist area of Sharm el-Sheik (search). Three bombs produced chaos, fear, and a death toll of 88 people.
In London, three bombs were detonated at three separate locations on the subway and another explosion went off on a bus on Thursday. Two weeks prior, a similar series of attacks ended up killing 56 people. Authorities say the incidents in London and Egypt are the deadliest terrorist attacks ever seen in those countries
Two groups have laid claim to the bombings in Egypt, including the previously unknown Holy Warriors of Egypt. However, the well-known Abdullah Azzam Brigades (search) of Al Qaeda in Syria and Egypt also took responsibility, and Egyptian officials told FOX News that they believe the better-known group is the culprit.
The officials said they believe the latter group was responsible because the target was primarily filled with Egyptians, and the terror group has said previously that it would target that nation because it disagrees with the Egyptian "regime."
Egyptian officials add that the brigade, even if only loosely affiliated and ideologically bound to Al Qaeda, shares Al Qaeda's mode of operation, which are the hallmarks of this hit. Al Qaeda's attacks are large and well-coordinated; and the terror cells have the discipline to plan the attacks and keep their mouths shut during the planning, they said.
U.S. intelligence officials and counter-terrorism experts say they believe bin Laden is still in control and may have ordered the latest attacks.
"I think bin Laden is still alive, still in control because he's able to hold Al Qaeda together, these various factions together, which otherwise don't get along. Remember, they don't train together, they don't eat together. They only work together as terrorists because of bin Laden and that aura he casts out," said Richard Miniter, author of "Losing bin Laden" and "Shadow War."
Since 2002, bin Laden or his lieutenants are likely responsible for ordering attacks in other nations, including Spain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, counter-terror experts say. But Miniter and others add that they believe the attacks demonstrate that Al Qaeda is acting like a wounded snake. The organization is still lethal but the war in Iraq is exacting a toll on the terror group.
New intelligence is emerging that confirms what U.S. generals have been saying all along — that Al Qaeda is losing in Iraq, said former Justice Department official and counter-terror expert John Loftus.
"Israelis might be right. All of this terrorism is going on to cover the fact that they are presently pulling their troops out of Iraq. They've lost the war in Iraq. They've lost the war in Afghanistan," Loftus, president of the Intelligence Summit, told FOX News.
"There's going to be more fighting. This isn't the end of the war. This is only the beginning of the end," Loftus added.
Loftus said that an Al Qaeda attack on U.S. transit systems may prove difficult because U.S. intelligence and police have been able to thwart their attempts by breaking up sleeper cells.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (search) told FOX News that Al Qaeda is a "diabolical, very patient" enemy, but the United States and its allies continue to keep the terrorists on the run.
"As to whether or not there is still centralized coordination, I think that it's safe to say that we have been very successful in our efforts in Afghanistan and in pushing out the leadership, in capturing much of the leadership of Al Qaeda and making it as difficult as possible to coordinate the campaign of terror against America and its allies. We now know from these attacks that the threat is still out there," Gonzales said, adding that the United States is helping British and Egyptian authorities locate those responsible for the attacks.
Malcolm Nance (search), author of the "Terrorist Recognition Handbook," said it appears that the terror organization is in the middle of a wave of attacks, but the group may be divided into regional commands rather than under the direction of bin Laden.
"I think it's more of his lieutenants. Usama bin Laden is holed up in the Afghanistan region as far as we can tell," Nance said.
Nance added that he thinks the United States has not been hit since Sept. 11, 2001, because of the aggressive clampdown going on within the country over the last four years. He said his best guess for the next attack would be in Saudi Arabia, where Al Qaeda has "an enormous organization, is popular and well-funded."
Loftus added that he expects to see a surge in violence in August in Iraq as that nation plans for its September vote to approve the draft constitution there. He added that while the United States continues to pursue these terrorists, it could take another decade before the last 100 Al Qaeda-related terrorists are killed.
FOX News' Kelly Wright and Mike Tobin contributed to this report.