Qaeda declares war on us diplomats

Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb also praises the killing of the US envoy in Libya on Sept 11

Cairo : Al-Qaeda’s branch in North Africa is calling for attacks on US diplomats and an escalation of protests against an anti-Islam video that triggered a wave of demonstrations in Muslim countries. In a statement released on Tuesday, Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb praised the killing of Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11.

Qaeda declares war on us diplomats

The group threatened attacks in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania in response to the movie. Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula recently issued a similar call for attacks on US diplomatic facilities. The group is al-Qaeda’s most active branch in the Middle East.

Muslims have blamed the U.S. government for the amateurish film of obscure origin. Washington has condemned the film and said it does not condone any insult to any religion.

Praising the attacks by angry demonstrators in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Sudan on US and other Western missions as “natural responses to a huge insult”, the statement said that American embassies should be burned and diplomats killed. It said defending the Prophet’s honour was a “religious duty and obligation to the Muslim nation, each according to his ability”.

Blast kills 12 in Kabul  

Meanwhile in Kabul, a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital today, killing at least 12 people including eight South Africans. A militant group claimed the attack aimed to avenge a film deemed offensive to Islam. The powerful early morning blast was the first to target Kabul since a video clip of the film was posted on the Internet last week, sparking angry protests across the Muslim world including in Afghanistan. It was also the second and deadliest attack in Afghanistan that militants have said they carried out as revenge strikes in response to the film.

Haroon Zarghoon, a spokesman for the Islamist militant group Hizb-i-Islami, claimed responsibility for the dawn attack in telephone call to The Associated Press. He said it was carried out by a 22-year-old woman named Fatima. Suicide bombings carried out by women are extremely rare in Afghanistan, and few if any women drive cars. “The anti-Islam film hurt our religious sentiments and we cannot tolerate it,” Zarghoon said. He said the 22-year-old Fatima volunteered to be the suicide bomber.

“There had been several young men who wanted to take revenge but Fatima also volunteered and we wanted to give a chance to a girl for the attack to tell the world we cannot ignore any anti-Islam attack.”   Zarghoon warned of more attacks against foreigners working for NATO and said the group had been seeking targets since a video clip of the film was posted on the Internet last week.

The bombing was a worrisome escalation of violence in the capital, where most attacks are usually blamed on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based militant group affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Russia may block YouTube

Moscow: Russia’s communications minister has warned that his country may block access to YouTube over the anti-Islam video that has sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Nikolai Nikiforov said on his Twitter account that the block may take place Nov 3, after a new law restricting internet access takes effect Nov 1. The law is designed to protect children from internet pornography, but critics have assailed it as a move to dampen dissent. The Prosecutor General’s Office has declared the film, “Innocence of Muslims”, to be extremist and will seek a court ruling to ban the video in Russia, its spokeswoman said.

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