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UK, Japan, Italy, Australia could be next target of terror outfit
Shyam Bhatia in London | March 18, 2004 16:18 IST
The Islamic militant group that claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombings has warned that its next targets could be Britain, Japan, Italy, or Australia.
The Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper said on its website that it received a statement from The Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri (al-Qaeda) in which the group repeated its responsibility for the March 11 attacks.
The group said it is calling a truce to give the newly elected Spanish government time to carry out its pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq, but then added, 'Our brigades are getting ready now for the coming strikes.
'Whose turn will it be next? Is it Japan, America, Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia or Australia?'
The statement also warned that 'the brigades of death are at your doors', adding that they would strike 'with an iron hand at the right time and place'.
The website did not say how the statement had been received. But Al-Quds al-Arabi has received emails from this group in the past.
On the eve of the Madrid bombings, the paper released a copy of an email from Abu Hafs al-Masri in which it made the first claim of responsibility.
Moroccan authorities say the emerging evidence in the Madrid attacks points toward Ansar al-Islam, a guerrilla group blamed for terrorist strikes in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Morocco.
Suresh Kumar and Vinay Kohly were arrested last Sunday after police discovered SIM cards and a mobile telephone next to an unexploded bomb in a Madrid suburban train.
It is thought that the two men may have sold the cards and telephone to the team of bombers that killed more than 200 people and wounded 1,500 others in a series of bomb attacks.
Three Moroccan nationals who were also picked up at the same time as the Indians are also due to appear in the same court, diplomatic sources in London and Madrid said.