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Germans study 'threat' in al-Qaida message

GERMAN authorities were yesterday evaluating a purported al-Qaida video in which a speaker appeared to threaten Germany over its military presence in Afghanistan.

The SITE Intelligence Group, a United States-based organization that monitors militant Websites, said al-Qaida's media production house Al-Sahab released the message on Saturday.

The video, dated October 2008, features a man calling himself "Abu Talha the German," whose face is covered by a black turban.

Speaking in fluent German, he notes that Germany ?? which has more than 3,300 soldiers in Afghanistan ?? is the largest provider of troops there after the US and Britain.

"If the Germans gullibly and naively think that they can get away scot-free as the third-biggest troop provider, then German politicians are out of place in parliament," he says.

The speaker does not offer a more specific threat, though he says at one point that "it has been my wish to blow myself up for Allah since 1993."

A spokesman for Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said the video was being evaluated by security authorities, but did not comment on its authenticity.

The often rambling 30-minute message, subtitled in Arabic, is titled "the rescue package for Germany" - an apparent reference to a multibillion euro government bank rescue package drawn up in October.

"The financial crisis swept away the pride of the Germans," the speaker says. "If the people pull their soldiers out of Afghanistan, the government's expectations could perhaps be met."


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