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Al-Qaeda links blast at embassy to Muhammad cartoons

Six died in Pakistan. A Web posting warned Danes that it may "only be the first drop of rain."

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A statement attributed to al-Qaeda yesterday claimed responsibility for Monday's deadly bombing at the Danish Embassy and threatened more attacks on countries where cartoons of Muhammad are published.

The statement, signed by an al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, lauded Pakistani jihadists for assisting in the suicide car blast, which came as Pakistan seeks peace agreements with extremists in its border regions.

The blast killed six, five Pakistanis and one Dane, and caused widespread destruction in the neighborhood. A Danish official said Denmark shared with Pakistan a video of the attack that showed the vehicle arriving outside the embassy and exploding.

The post was dated Tuesday and signed by Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed. It said the attack aimed to fulfill Osama bin Laden's promise to exact revenge for the reprinting in Danish newspapers of a cartoon of Islam's prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

If Denmark fails to apologize for the cartoons, it said, more attacks will follow and Monday's blast will "only be the first drop of rain."

The statement was posted on a site frequently used by Islamic extremists.

Ben Venzke of IntelCenter, a U.S. group that monitors al-Qaeda messages, said prime targets for the threat would be embassies and diplomatic personnel in Pakistan from nations where the cartoons were published. Venzke said Norway, the United States, and all European Union countries, including Denmark, were most at risk.

Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of Muhammad for fear it could lead to idolatry. In early 2006, a dozen cartoons, originally published in a Danish newspaper, triggered fiery protests in Muslim countries when they were reprinted by a range of Western media.

The drawing of Muhammad in a bomb-shaped turban appeared again in Danish newspapers Feb. 13, after Danish police said they foiled an alleged plot to murder the cartoonist who drew it.