Group Threatens Proposed Muslim Force

A militant group has posted Internet warning that threatens attacks against any Islamic or Arab nation that contributes troops to a Saudi-proposed Muslim force for Iraq (search).

"Our swords will be drawn in the face of anyone who cooperates with the Jews and the Christians," the group said in its statement. "We will strike with an iron fist all the traitors from the Arab governments who cooperate with the Zionists secretly or openly."

The statement was issued in the name of the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya — Omar el-Mukhtar Brigade (search), a little known group whose main title means the Group of Islamic Monotheism. Omar el-Mukhtar is the name of a Libyan nationalist who fought against the Italian occupation who was hanged by the colonial authorities in 1931.

The statement was posted Thursday on an Islamic Web site known to carry messages from militant groups.

It appeared about 24 hours after Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters in Jiddah they were considering a force composed of soldiers from Muslim nations that would supplement the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq.

Under the Saudi proposal, Arab and Muslim countries that do not border on Iraq would be invited to contribute. The countries mentioned as possible contributors to such a force are Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Morocco.

The Internet statement was addressed to the Saudi and Pakistani governments. It said the two states "intend to send Islamic troops to Iraq."

"We will not keep silent in case any Islamic or Arabic country, especially Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, send troops to Iraq. We also call on Muslim soldiers, in case they are sent to Iraq, not to respond, not to throw themselves in the path of death."