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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Turkish Hizbullah" issuing terror threats

A Kurdish Islamic militant group with reported ties to al-Qaida is re-emerging in Turkey after six years underground, and has started issuing vague but worrying threats, authorities say.

Turkish authorities now say they are witnessing a rise in its activities, but they are proceeding cautiously out of fears that in today's charged atmosphere, a harsh crackdown could inspire even more young Muslims to join its ranks.

Turkish Hizbullah's rise parallels developments across the broader Muslim world, where the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon are believed to have served as powerful recruiting tools for radical Islamic groups.

Turkish Hizbullah, which takes its name from the better-known Lebanon-based Hizbullah but has no formal links to it, was largely eradicated six years ago when its leader was killed and more than 6,000 of its members were arrested in a massive police crackdown.

Like the Lebanese Hizbullah, the Turkish group allegedly is backed by Iran.

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