A purported statement by the Islamic Jihad Organization
has threatened that the two Simonas will be killed unless Italy begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. "What will happen in the coming few hours will be related to the withdrawal from Iraq. We will not accept any substitute for that. We will not calm down or give in until those nonbelievers leave the land of the holy campaign, and until Islam's followers enjoy security in Iraq.Before we gave Berlusconi 12 hours to meet our conditions for the release of the two prisoners, we now renew the duration for another 24 hours from the time of issuing this statement. If we don't see the Italian troops withdraw from the land of Iraq, we will implement Allah's judgment on them, which will be slaughter... It is the acts committed by the Italian troops in Iraq which are above all responsible for the (capture of the) two Italians." The statement appeared today on the public bulletin board of www.yaislah.org
a Web site often used by militant groups. It is hard to verify this, and the new information is confusing given that the previous statement
, on Friday, was in the name of a different (also unknown) group Ansar a-Zawahiri
. It is not clear when the statement was posted, but it was noticed by the media at about 11am GMT today. Last month a group calling itself Islamic Jihad Organization claimed responsibility for an attack on the offices of an Iraqi political party.