Iraqi Islamist group tape threatens

Reuters, July 28, 2003
http://www2.bostonherald.com/

DUBAI – A hitherto unknown group of Iraqi Muslim militants warned in a video tape aired on an Arab channel Monday they would fight a “holy war” against U.S. President George W. Bush and his administration.

“Bush, Rumsfeld and decision makers in the ‘black house’ and in the Pentagon … we will shake the ground under your feet and we will send a fire upon you which only God can prevent,” a masked man said on a tape aired on Dubai-based Al Arabiya.

The man called his group the “Salafist Jihad Group.”

Salafist is a general term that fundamentalist movements in mainstream Sunni Islam use to describe a desire to live according to a strict interpretation of early Islam.

“America you have declared war on God’s soldiers … you won’t have security or peace-of-mind as long as you are an infidel and fighting a war against Islam and Muslims,” said the man, standing amid a group of similarly masked men bearing weapons.

Although the group’s name is similar to an ultra conservative Islamist group suspected of links to suicide bombings in Morocco in May, the man made no specific reference to the North African group.

He pledged to avenge the arrest of religious figures and Islamist activists in prisons all over the world including Iraq, the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Morocco, Kenya, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan and India.

In recent weeks, many groups — some saying they are Saddam loyalists and one claiming links to the militant al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden — have claimed responsibility for attacks on U.S. occupying forces in Iraq.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Sunday accused Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera channels of biased reporting from Iraq, adding that Washington was talking to unnamed governments to try to get more “balanced” coverage.

At least 49 U.S. soldiers have been killed since Bush declared the end of major combat in Iraq on May 1.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 1, 2003.
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