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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 18:30 GMT
Al-Qaeda denial - statement excerpts
People run on the streets of Karbala as a series of blasts take place
Bomb attack in Karbala: al-Qaeda deny any role

A letter purporting to come from al-Qaeda denied on Wednesday any role in anti-Shia explosions in Iraq that killed scores of people.

The letter, signed "Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades (al-Qaeda)", was sent to the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. Following are key excerpts:

Today a great misfortune has happened and is part of the US conspiracy to ignite the fire of sedition between the Muslims in Iraq. The US forces today perpetrated a massacre to kill the innocent Shias in their polytheist city of Karbala and in Baghdad.

The Americans are trying to attribute these actions to the mujahideen of al-Qaeda who have inflicted pain and suffering on the United States in Iraq and elsewhere. The United States wants to distort the image of the mujahideen.

And we are today telling all Muslims that we disassociate ourselves from this action and disassociate ourselves from what the Shia Muslims worship other than Allah.

So that our aims are clear to everyone, we are striking the American crusaders and their allies. We are striking the Iraqi police, the agents and lackeys of the United States and the club with which it is striking the mujahideen in Iraq.

We are striking the agents of the United States in the council of unbelief that is called the Governing Council and the Sunnis and Shias in their orbit.

Oh heroic people of Iraq. The mujahideen are a people who love Allah and His Messenger and only do what pleases Allah, and they do not slay such life as Allah has made sacred, except for just cause.

This includes the heretic Shia groups that do not insult the companions of Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and do not contravene the Koran and do not tamper with Allah's shari'ah...

Beware!! The United States wants you to help it against the mujahideen and the mujahideen want you to turn the tables against it and to declare war on the United States.

Come on, rise with your brother mujahideen against the idol of the age, the United States...

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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