From Reuters, “Iraq’s al Qaeda warns against talks with govt-Web”
DUBAI – Iraq’s al Qaeda vowed to kill anyone negotiating with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government in a Web statement on Tuesday, a sign the group was worried about possible divisions among its Sunni Muslim allies.
The group led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was responding to what it said were reports that tribal leaders in Iraq’s third-largest city Mosul, the scene of frequent outbreaks of guerrilla violence, were seeking talks.
“Liars claim that the sheikhs of tribes in Mosul plan to hand over mujahideen (holy fighters) and assist the crusaders and apostates, and we do not know which tribes or sheikhs they speak of,” the Sunni Muslim group said.
“We will impose God’s punishment on anyone who stands by the crusaders or becomes their ally or supports them. The righteous swords are unsheathed and hunger for blood,” it said in a statement posted on an Islamist Web site.
The Iraqi government said on Sunday some rebels had approached it looking for peace terms but gave no details of who had made contact.
Zarqawi issued a similar warning in an audio tape attributed to him in April, referring to reports that U.S. and Iraqi officials had offered to negotiate with some militants…
The Shi’ite-led Iraqi government has often said it is willing to talk to rebels who stop fighting.
“We reiterate that there will be no dialogue with the Jews and Christians other than the sound of bullets, blood and fire,” Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq said in a separate Web statement.