Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Photos: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest in Paris

    Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • Germany's Tony Martin wins 20th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Second black box found at Air Algérie crash site in Mali

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

Asia-pacific

New arson attacks suspected as firefighters struggle on

Video by Carla WESTERHEIDE

Latest update : 2009-02-12

Australian police are investigating fresh arson attacks and looting but firmly deny rumours that the wildfires that have killed more than 180 people could have been started by Islamic militants waging "forest jihad."

AFP - Australian police Wednesday dismissed any suggestion the wildfires that have killed more than 180 people could have been started by Islamic militants waging "forest jihad."
   
The idea has started to turn up on Internet blog sites after reports last year that a group of Islamic extremists had urged Muslims to light bushfires as a weapon of terror.
   
Police believe some of the fires that ripped through southeast Australia since the weekend were started by arsonists, but a spokesman said there was no suspicion they were Islamic terror attacks.
   
"None at all, absolutely nothing, zero," Superintendent Ross McNeill told AFP.
   
"We usually rank possibilities on a scale of 0 to 10 -- this would be on a negative scale," he said.
   
McNeill said he was aware of last year's report, which said US intelligence channels had identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe and Russia to "start forest fires."
   
The report, carried by Melbourne's The Age newspaper on September 7, said the website claimed "scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels' forests when they do the same to our lands."
   
Posted by a group called the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Network, it argues in Arabic that lighting fires is an effective form of terrorism justified in Islamic law under the doctrine of an "eye for an eye," the report said.
   
It calls on Muslims to remember "forest jihad" in summer, saying fires cause economic damage and can take months to extinguish so that "this terror will haunt them for an extended period of time."
   
The Age report said Australian intelligence agencies were treating the possibility that bushfires could be used as a weapon of terrorism as a serious concern.
   
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the federal government remained "vigilant against such threats," warning that anyone caught lighting a fire as a weapon of terror would feel the wrath of anti-terror laws, the paper said.
   
But McNeill insisted there was no suggestion of a link to the fires that razed entire towns last weekend, killing at least 181 people and destroying more than 750 homes.
  

   
   
 

Date created : 2009-02-11

COMMENT(S)