CAIRO, Egypt – An online statement purportedly from an Islamic militant group threatened the Netherlands and Italy with "bloodbaths" if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq.
There was no way to verify the authenticity of the statement, which appeared late Sunday on a Web site known as a clearing house for militant-related material.
The statement addressed all European countries that have sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, but also specifically mentioned the Netherlands and Italy.
"We advise you to withdraw the Dutch troops from Iraq, otherwise we will not be responsible for the retaliation which will not be through the Internet, but through our special means," warned the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya (search) group.
"Wait for the hell which will turn your nights into bloodbaths."
The statement addressed Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (search) by name and said: "You have defied the soldiers of Islam so wait for the Islamic quake."
Italy has about 3,000 troops in Iraq.
The Dutch Foreign Ministry said Monday the Netherlands had no plans to withdraw its approximately 1,350 troops from Iraq. Spokesman Bart Jochems called the Internet threat a "foggy story," adding that the government repeatedly has said it will not be swayed by terrorists.
The online statement was signed by the Omar el-Mukhtar Brigade of the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya, or Group of Islamic Monotheism (search). Omar el-Mukhtar (search ) was a Libyan nationalist who fought against the Italian occupation and was hanged in 1931.
On July 29, the little-known group posted a statement on an Islamic Web site warning Arab countries against participating in a Saudi-proposed Muslim force for Iraq.
It is unclear who the actual authors of threatening statements are. The numerous online claims and counterclaims make it difficult to determine the authenticity of Web threats or learn whether those who post them have any ability to carry them out.