Monday, August 09, 2004

Salvador gets threat from Iraqi "virtual" terrorists

I've just returned from the August holidays, and catching up on news. Most significantly, there's still an evolving story about Iraq and El Salvador--the only Latin American nation to still have troops in Iraq.

Last Friday, according to Reuters, a hitherto unknown group, the Mohammed Atta Brigades – Al-Qaeda of Jihad, posted a threat on a website:

Dispatching any troops from El Salvador would be a declaration of war against Iraq's Muslim people, prompting us to launch war against you and move the conflict inside El Salvador.
This followed the late July decision by Salvadoran President Tony Saca, ratified (barely) by the legislative assembly, to send a third contingent of troops (some 380) to Iraq. Previously they'd been posted in Najaf, seen of some of the fiercest fighting in recent days, but on this trip they're moving elsewhere.

Today's papers note that another group has joined the fray, the Abu Bakr al Sediq Brigades, which claims to be linked to the group that attacked Madrid last March and which issued a similar warning yesterday against both Salvador and Denmark. Meanwhile, the Mohammed Atta Brigades issued a second threat in response to Saca's defiant pledge to make good on his promise of further troops.

Defense, Interior and the National Civilian Police chiefs held a press conference yesterday and said that everyone should close ranks behind the President, at the same time that they admitted the could not verify that these groups actually existed. Migration authorities said that five Iranians, Iraquis and Saudis were currently in the country, and they were being watched very carefully. One Saudi on an FBI list of suspected terrorists was reportedly spotted this past May in Honduras.

I wonder if all this means we're going to see a Salvadoran version of the Patriot Act sometime soon...?

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