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Al-Qaeda tells Iraq diplomats to leave or face death - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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DUBAI (AFP) – Al-Qaeda”s branch in Iraq, which has threatened to kill two Moroccan hostages, called on diplomats in Baghdad to &#34pack their bags and leave&#34 or face certain death, according to an Internet statement.

&#34We reiterate our warning to those who insist on maintaining so-called diplomatic missions in Baghdad,&#34 said the statement whose authenticity could not be independently verified.

&#34Let them pack their bags and leave,&#34 said the statement signed by &#34the military wing of the Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Land of the Two Rivers,&#34 headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The statement accused Washington”s &#34small agents in the region,&#34 including the &#34treacherous Moroccan government&#34 of maintaining diplomatic missions in Baghdad in order &#34to grant political and security backing that would provide legitimacy&#34 to the Iraqi government.

The new warning was addressed &#34to those who still do not understand and challenge the will of the mujahedeen (fighters), and especially the missions of countries which have pledged to cooperate with the (Iraqi) apostate government installed by the invading Crusaders (US-led forces).&#34

&#34We will not spare any effort in tracking them down and punishing them, whoever they are and wherever they are, just as we have done with their predecessors,&#34 it said.

The group, considered the bloodiest of the insurgent groups in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for kidnapping and executing two Algerian diplomats and Egypt”s head of mission in Baghdad, Ihab al-Sherif, all abducted in July.

&#34And let them know that we do not make any difference between the head of the mission and the smallest employee as long as they have agreed to … back the criminal government of the (Shiites) and their American master,&#34 it said.

Moroccan embassy driver Abdelrahim Boualam and agent Abdelkrim El Mouhafidi went missing on October 20 while travelling on the treacherous highway between Amman and the Iraqi capital.

On Thursday, Zarqawi”s group said in a statement that they have decided to kill the two Moroccans after a &#34sharia (Islamic) court … decided that they were without doubt loyalists of the oppressors and elements of the apostate regime in Morocco.&#34

The Iraqi government has said the abduction and killing of foreign envoys was aimed at undermining its legitimacy and has urged world governments to remain resolute in the face of the dangers of being posted in Baghdad.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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