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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Report: Rome tightens pope's security after fury over Islam remarks

The Vatican has increased the security provisions for the Pope, Army Radio reported Sunday, a day after an Iraqi insurgent group threatened the Vatican with a suicide attack over the pope's remarks on Islam.

Muslims around the world have reacted furiously to the comments Tuesday by Benedict XVI, in which he quoted from an obscure Medieval text referred to some of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad as "evil and inhuman."

The statement, posted online Saturday in the group's name, does not state the seat of the Holy See directly, but is addressed to "you dog of Rome" and threatens to "shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home."

"We swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life," said the message posted in the name of the Mujahedeen Army on a Web site frequently used by militant groups.

The message, the authenticity of which could not be independently verified, also contained links to video recordings of what the group claimed were rocket attacks on U.S. bases.

The Mujahedeen Army's statement vowed, "our minds will not rest until we shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home."

The same group has claimed responsibility for scores of attacks in Iraq, including the April 2005 downing of a helicopter carrying 11 civilians, including six Americans.

It was among 11 Sunni insurgent groups that offered in June to halt all attacks if the United States agrees to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq in two years.

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