As the fallout from an online film that mocks Islam’s holy prophet continued Tuesday, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa urged Muslims in the region to kill US government representatives and called the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens a ‘gift’.
“We encourage all Muslims to continue to demonstrate and escalate their protests ... and to kill their (American) ambassadors and representatives or to expel them to cleanse our land from their wickedness,” said the statement from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The group called last week’s killing of Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, “the best gift you (can) give to his arrogant and unjust administration.”
Elsewhere, a Taliban-allied insurgent group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed 12 people, including eight South Africans, in Afghanistan. The attack was a response to the film, the group said.
Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, a group allied with the Taliban, said a 22-year-old woman drove a car packed with 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of explosives into a van on a road leading to Kabul International Airport.
Eleven others were wounded in the attack, the Afghan Interior Ministry said. The escalating tensions have spilled into NATO military operations in the central Asia nation, prompting the alliance to order its troops to adjust joint operations with Afghan security forces to minimize attacks on them by their local allies.
“Recent events outside of and inside Afghanistan related to the Innocence of Muslims video plus the conduct of recent insider attacks have given cause for ISAF troops to exercise increased vigilance and carefully review all activities and interactions with the local population,” said a spokeswoman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The operations with Afghan forces could increase as the threat level goes down, she said.