In a video posted on the internet yesterday, the date and authenticity of which have yet to be confirmed, Al Qaeda warned that the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "once again puts Spain at risk."
The main message of the video, which was recorded in Arabic with subtitles in German, was directed at the governments of Austria and Germany, who are warned not to "follow the example of the socialist government in Spain, which has deceived the public by withdrawing its troops from Iraq and sending 600 more to Afghanistan. The countries of Islam are one nation, and the Spanish government has put the country at risk again by sending its troops to Afghanistan," warned the single masked spokesman.
The video includes photos of a number of western leaders, including German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is also accused of "deceiving her people," and with "sustaining (George W) Bush's lies," and putting her country at risk.
Spanish Defence minister, José Antonio Alonso, described the video as "one more threat" to countries which "fight for peace." Mr Alonso (photo, right), who was in Quart de Poblet (just outside Valencia) yesterday with Foreign Affairs minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos (photo, left) to attend the presentation of the new UN Communications Centre that will be opened at the Manises military airport at a cost to the central government of €12 million, insisted that "countries that fight for a more just and stable world should never surrender to such pressure or threats," although "we must always be on our guard against international terrorism."