Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    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)