Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Al-Qaeda to launch new 'offensive' in Iraq

DUBAI (AFX) - Al-Qaeda's Iraq operation said it was launching an offensive in the west of Iraq in response to a major US and Iraqi military operation on the Syrian border.

"Your brothers in the military branch of Al-Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers are launching today 'The Conquest of Vengeance' on behalf of the Sunni community in Al-Qaim," the group said in an online statement which could not be independently verified.

It stressed the group's "right to defend the (Islamic) nation and avenge the honour and blood" of Iraqis.

The offensive came "after the crusaders and the apostate government have not ceased their operations", referring to a warning it issued yesterday for US and Iraqi forces to halt their sweep against insurgents within 24 hours.

"After that they will only see from us the worst and something that's going to make the earth tremble under their feet," the earlier statement said.

Operation Steel Curtain began Saturday and was designed to "restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the Al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout Al-Qaim region," the US military said.

Around 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and a force of 2,500 US troops were engaged in the sweep, which the US military said has resulted in the deaths of at least one US marine, an Iraqi soldier and 36 "suspected rebel


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