Sunday, October 03, 2004

NNN: Countries on high Alert after Al Qaida Threat

Dubai, Oct. 3 (NNN): A number of countries sounded an high alert across the length and breath of their lands after an audio tape said to have been recorded by a top leader of the al-Qaeda terror network, Ayman al-Zawahri, called for attacks on the America and its allies worldwide.

The tape Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama Bin Laden's deputy, aired on Arabic television channel al-Jazeera, calls for organised resistance against invading "crusaders" in the Muslim world.

In addition to the US and the UK, the speaker singles out Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan.

He says the countries cited took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya and gave Israel "means of survival".

He also says it is the duty of every Muslim to liberate "Palestine", and says the West is complicit in the deaths of Palestinian militant leaders.

"In Palestine, we do not only face the Jews, but we also face the global coalition against Islam, led by the crusader and Zionist United States and the crusader West and the agent leaders behind them."

"We should not wait until US, British, French, Jewish, South Korean, Hungarian or Polish forces enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria before we resist," said the tape, attributed to Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant.

"Let us start resisting now. The interests of America, Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan are spread everywhere. They all took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya or enabled Israel to survive."

South Korea Alert: South Korea put its security forces on alert after Muslims were urged to resist the United States and its allies around the world.

Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who heads the National Security Council (NSC) that oversees all security portfolios — including intelligence, defence and foreign affairs — convened an emergency meeting on Saturday, an NSC spokeswoman said.

She declined to say what was discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, Defence Minister Yoon Kwang-Ung and other key security advisers. Security was stepped up at airports, ports, government buildings and other key sites, ministry officials said.

"We have assumed that South Korea could fall victim to terror attacks for a long time ago and prepared measures for such a possibility," said a defence ministry official on condition of anonymity. The Foreign Ministry repeated a government warning against travel to Iraq, saying the security situation was deteriorating rapidly in the Middle East.

Separately, YTN television said police has detained a man in his 50s who threatened he would explode the presidential blue house if his request to meet President Roh Moo-hyun was rejected.

Officials at the presidential office and police could not immediately confirm the report. The man was arrested after he drove his car with about 20 dynamite sticks into the presidential house.

Three South Korean civilians have been killed in Iraq in the past year, one an Arabic interpreter and devout Christian with missionary aspirations who was beheaded by Islamic militants in June. The militants who killed interpreter Kim Sun-il had demanded South Korea withdraw its 600 troops from Iraq and cancel plans to send 3,000 more soldiers.

Those extra troops have now been deployed, and on Friday they assumed military responsibility for northeast Iraq at a ceremony in the Kurdish capital Arbil.

Norway Alert: Norway has raised its level of alert after a message attributed to Al-Qaeda number two threatening the interests of several Western and Asian countries, officials in Oslo said.

The alert was raised from low to moderate, Joern Holme, head of Norway’s anti-terrorism services, said in a communique.

‘When Norway is threatened so directly there is every reason to take the threat seriously,’ he said.

US intelligence analysts have concluded that the message is authentic. Zawahiri, the right hand man of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was last heard in a videotape broadcast by the Qatar-based news channel on September 9 in which he forecast a US defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unusually for tapes attributed to Zawahri, the speaker alludes to the possibility that he might die.

"If we die or are detained, continue the path after us," the speaker is quoted as saying.

US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analysts are said to have concluded that the voice on the broadcast is indeed Zawahiri.

Zawahri, a bespectacled Egyptian former surgeon, is believed to be the architect of the al-Qaeda ideology.

In 1998, he was the second of five signatories to Bin Laden's notorious "fatwa" calling for attacks against US civilians. He was a key figure in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which later merged with al-Qaeda.

Zawahri's wife and children were reported killed in a US air strike in late November or early December 2001. He has been indicted in the US for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa, and was sentenced to death in Egypt in absentia for his activities with the Islamic Jihad group in the 1990s. He is believed to be hiding with the al-Qaeda leader on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

In a videotape released last month, Zawahri said the defeat of US-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was only a matter of time.

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