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Bush: US to 'Stay the Course' in Iraq

President Bush says he will not be intimidated by videotape threats from al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is threatening more terrorist violence in London and more U.S. casualties in Iraq.

President Bush said the videotaped threats are meant to force the United States to pull its troops out of Iraq and abandon broader efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

"He is saying, 'leave'. As I have told the American people, people like Zawahiri have an ideology that is dark, dim, backwards," said the president. "They don't appreciate women, if you don't agree with their narrow view of a religion, you will be whipped in the public square. That's their view. And they have tactics to help spread that view."

President Bush said he will stay the course in Iraq and complete the job there, only withdrawing U.S. troops once Iraqi forces are better able to handle more of their own security.

The president spoke to reporters on his Texas ranch following talks with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

He said American troops will stay on the offensive against al-Qaida terrorists, who he says have come up against a nation determined to defend itself.

"We owe it to the American people and other freedom-loving countries to bring these killers to justice," said President Bush. "That is what they are. They are terrorists and they are killers. And they will kill innocent people trying to get us to withdraw from the world so they can impose their dark vision on the world. That's what they are trying to do. And the comments today by Mr. Zawahiri absolutely reinforce what I've just told you."

In the videotape broadcast on the Arab satellite channel, al-Jazeera, Ayman al-Zawahiri did not claim al-Qaida responsibility for the July 7 bombings in London, but said further violence would be the fault of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The al-Qaida deputy said American losses in the September 11, 2001 attack in New York and Washington, and later in Iraq and Afghanistan, would only be the beginning unless, he said, Washington withdraws its troops, ends support for corrupt rulers and stops stealing Arab oil.

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