Al-Qaeda's Iraq chief threatened on Friday in an audio message posted on the Internet that the terror network will "blow up the White House."
"We announce today the end of a phase of the jihad [holy war] and the start of a new one ... to usher in the project of an Islamic caliphate and restore Islam's glory," Abu Hamza al-Muhajer said in the message.
"We swear we will not rest from our jihad ... before blowing up the filthiest house, dubbed the White House," in the course of establishing the caliphate which began with the proclamation of an Islamic state in Iraq, he said.
The authenticity of the message could not be independently confirmed.
"The location chosen by your mujahidin brethren to set up their state ... is but a stepping stone for the leap," Muhajer said, referring to the "Islamic state of Iraq" proclaimed last month.
An alliance of Sunni insurgents headed by the Iraq branch of al-Qaeda announced the creation of an independent Islamic emirate in Iraq in a video posted on the Internet on Oct.15, after parliament in Baghdad approved a federal Constitution for the war-ravaged country.
In Friday's message, Muhajer said he had mobilized 12,000 fighters for the Islamic state and was grooming 10,000 more.
"I tell the commander of the faithful, the honorable Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi: I have put 12,000 al-Qaeda fighters at the disposal of the Islamic state of Iraq," Muhajer said, pledging allegiance to the state's emir.
The al-Qaeda chief appealed to major Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups, notably the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, the Islamic Army of Iraq and the Mujahedeen's Army, to endorse the self-styled state and pledge allegiance to its emir.
Muhajer slammed US President George W. Bush, gloated over his Republican party's defeat in mid-term elections widely attributed to US involvement in Iraq and said US forces occupying the country were preparing to cut and run.
"The enemy is now teetering under the blows of the mujahedeen... and preparing to pack up and flee," he said.
"I thank the most stupid and worst president America -- the country of slaves and drugs -- has ever had for giving us this great historic opportunity," said the voice.
"The American people have taken the first step on the right path in order to get out of their impasse and have started to realize the treachery of their president and his subordination to Israel, voting for a measure of reason in the latest elections," Muhajer said.
"I tell [Bush]: don't hurry to flee like your defense minister [Donald Rumsfeld, who resigned on Wednesday]. We have still not quenched our thirst for your blood," he said.
Muhajer also charged that Bush's policies had enabled Shiite Iran to spread its influence in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.
Meanwhile a regional office of the US embassy in Hilla was hit by up to 10 rockets, Iraqi police in the town said yesterday.
A US spokesman said no embassy personnel were injured. The US military had no immediate comment on the report.
Iraqi police Captain Muthanna al-Mamouri said police had found a rocket launcher used to fire 10 rockets from around 5km north of the US embassy compound in central Hilla, south of Baghdad in the capital of Babil Province.
The compound is housed in a hotel on the banks of a river in the center of town and is guarded by civilian contractors as well as US military. Mamouri said police had seen smoke rising from the compound but he had no information on casualties.
"No State Department personnel were injured," said Mike McClellan of the US embassy, adding that he had no information on the specific details of the attack.
US bases and other sites associated with the US-led forces in Iraq, such as the international Green Zone in Baghdad, frequently come under attack from mortars and rockets, usually without causing casualties.
Fired from several kilometres away, the mortars and rockets are usually not very accurate.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official