Islamic militants warn Austria, Germany - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Islamic militants warn Austria, Germany

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Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2007 8:00 am | Updated: 6:01 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

CAIRO, Egypt - Islamic militants threatened to attack Germany and Austria unless the two European nations break ranks with the U.S. and withdraw their personnel from Afghanistan, according to a Web statement.

"Germany will face more threats and dangers if it doesn't withdraw its troops from Afghanistan," an unidentified speaker said in a video statement posted Saturday on an Islamic Web site used by al-Qaida-linked militants.

The authenticity of the video could not be verified, but it was released by the Voice of the Caliphate, which is said to be run by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida group.

The unidentified speaker, whose face was blurred, said about 2,700 German soldiers in Afghanistan will "not be safe from attacks" by the Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the war-torn nation. He also threatened that the militants will carry out attacks in Austria and against Austrian personnel in Afghanistan.

"Austria has always been one of the most safe countries in Europe, depending on tourism both in summer and winter," the unidentified speaker said. "But if it doesn't withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, it may be among targeted nations."

Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia was quoted by the Austria Press Agency as saying that the threats were very "abstract." Government representatives were meeting Sunday morning to discuss the situation.

The tape also featured a portion of an old video of al-Qaida's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri threatening Western countries with attacks.

Germany has no troops in Iraq but has troops serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, most of them focused in the north of the country.

Austria also has no troops in Iraq and has just five officers in Afghanistan.

Also Saturday, a separate, previously unknown Iraqi insurgent group released a video on the Web threatening to kill a German woman and her son kidnapped in Iraq unless Germany withdrew its troops from Afghanistan within 10 days.

A video posted by the group calling itself the "Arrows of Righteousness," shows the abducted woman, identified as Hannelore Marianne Krause. She was wearing a blue scarf over her head and eyeglasses and is shown seated on the floor, next to her grown son.

"I am here threatened by these people, they will kill my son in front of my eyes, then they will kill me if the German forces do not pull out of Afghanistan," she sobbed, speaking in German as an Arabic translation scrolled over the screen.

The woman appealed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to respond to the kidnappers' demands.

"Respectable Chancellor Merkel, I am terrified in this country as I have been detained for a long time," the woman said. "I beg you to do anything to appease these men."

German officials have refused to identify the captives or say why they are in Iraq. The authenticity of the insurgent video could not be independently verified.

Last month, German authorities confirmed that two Germans had been missing in Iraq since Feb. 6.

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