Sun, Jul 11, 2004 - Page 5 News List

S Korea warns of terrorist threats to attack supply ships

AFP , SEOUL

An armed Islamic group has threatened to attack ships from countries including South Korea delivering US military supplies to Iraq, Seoul's spy agency said yesterday.

"A message threatening terrorist attacks on ships carrying military supplies to Iraq has been posted on an Arabic Web site," a spokesman of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said.

"We have alerted related agencies including maritime authorities and police to this information and called for stepped up vigilance," he said.

The Chosun daily quoted a NIS official as saying that the mysterious group on July 3 posted an article on an Islamic Internet site, threatening to attack ships from the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and South Korea.

"Shipping companies which carry military supplies to Americans that are used to attack Islamic warriors will be our target," the group was quoted as saying in the brief message.

The group identified itself as the Supreme Headquarters of Armed Islamic Warriors in Iraq, the newspaper said.

An official of South Korea's leading shipping company, Hanjin Shipping, said that as far as he was aware, no South Korean ships were involved in transporting military supplies to US troops in Iraq.

He said the company and other South Korean shipping firms have stepped up security in line with new international security code for ships and ports that took effect on July 1 amid mounting concerns over terrorism.

"But we have not taken any additional measures because of the warning from the National Intelligence Agency," he said.

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