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Iraq Militants Vow Attacks on Arab Forces


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CAIRO, Egypt - A little-known militant group threatened to attack any Arab country that sends troops to help stabilize Iraq, hours after the leaders of several nations indicated they were seriously considering a Saudi proposal for a Muslim security force to help the interim Iraqi government.

Yemen and Bahrain have offered help under certain conditions, and foreign ministers from Algeria, Bahrein and Tunisia met Thursday with their Iraqi counterpart to discuss prospects of sending of Arab troops to Iraq. Pakistan could send several hundred troops.

Yet while Arab governments and other Muslim countries say they want to help restore calm in Iraq — and have an interest in ensuring violence there does not destabilize the region — they must move carefully to avoid angering their citizens, many of whom are hostile toward the United States and Iraq's U.S.-backed government.

The Internet warning threatened any Islamic or Arab nation that contributes troops to a Saudi-proposed Muslim force for Iraq, saying: "Our swords will be drawn in the face of anyone who cooperates with the Jews and the Christians. We will strike with an iron fist all the traitors from the Arab governments who cooperate with the Zionists secretly or openly."

The statement was issued in the name of the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya — Omar el-Mukhtar Brigade, a little known group whose main title means the Group of Islamic Monotheism. Omar el-Mukhtar fought the Italian occupation of Libya and was hanged in 1931.

That statement came after Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi appealed for help from Muslim nations Thursday. He soughtthe help in Saudi Arabia during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who went on to make an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Friday.

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"Our swords will be drawn in the face of anyone who cooperates with the jews and the christians."

'Why if that isn't racist'?

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