Al-Qaeda has announced that its long-anticipated comeback tour, involving commando-style waves of suicide assaults on European cities and ever more devious ways of planting bombs on planes, will be delayed until the New Year. This is because it is currently unable to secure sufficient numbers of bombers while Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor continue to enthral the world.
Hasan al-Khalil, Director of Martyr Recruitment at the Islamist terror group, admitted that staffing levels were an issue. 'We are a highly professional organisation and we won't send out missions if we are not confident that we can get the right mix of nihilistic rage, externalised sexual inadequacy and stupidity needed to complete them to the high standards we expect,' he said.
In recent weeks, Al-Qaeda has increasingly found its young zealots unwilling to train on Saturday evenings, let alone die in agony in a blazing fireball. Contrived excuses, such as 'I've got a cold', 'My uncle died' and 'I just wanted to see if Anton has put his back out lifting Ann Widdecombe yet', have become the bane of its leaders' lives.
'You can't volunteer to die for the glory of God then put conditions on it,' said al-Khalili. 'We even had one young Egyptian recently who said he'd only drive a carload of bombs into Downing Street if Aliona Vilani could be one of his 72 virgins in paradise. I tried to tell him gently, look she's a 25-year-old Russian woman, it's not very likely ... he ran off in tears and we never saw him again.'
Al-Qaeda has stressed, however, that this is only a tactical move and that it remains fully committed to destroying the West. 'We shall return fiercer than ever in the New Year, insh'Allah, to bring terror to the decadent crusaders,' vowed al-Khalili. 'God is great! God is great! God is great! Unlike Wagner, who is shit.'