Could Oz wildfires be jungle jihad?

Could Oz wildfires be jungle jihad?

11 February 2009

published by

Australia — Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has already spoken of “mass murder’’ after investigators said arsonists may have set off some of the wildfires which have already claimed 181 lives. Now, there’s an even more chilling question: could it be the work of jihadis?

Experts on terrorism aren’t ruling it out. A report in Australian newspaper The Age points out that US intelligence channels earlier this year identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe andRussiato “start forest fires”, claiming “scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels’ forests when they do the same to our lands”.

The website, posted by a group called the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Network, argues in Arabic that lighting fires is an effective form of terrorism. The posting — which instructs jihadis to remember “forest jihad” in summer months —says fires cause economic damage and pollution, tie up security agencies and can take months to extinguish so that “this terror will haunt them for an extended period of time”.

“Imagine if, after all the losses caused by such an event, a jihadist organisation were to claim responsibility for the forest fires,’’ the website says. “You can hardly begin to imagine the level of fear that would take hold of people in the US, Europe, Russia and Australia.’’

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