Iraq Qaeda wants own Islamic state for Sunnis-Web


An Iraqi militant group led by al-Qaeda has called for a separate Islamic state in Baghdad and other areas with a large Sunni Arab population, according to a video posted on the Internet today.

"Your brothers in the Mutayibeen Coalition herald the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq ... to protect our religion and our people, to prevent strife and so that the blood and sacrifices of your martyrs are not lost," a speaker for the coalition said on the video.

The Sunni insurgent coalition was set up last week by the al-Qaeda-led Mujahideen Shura Council, smaller groups and unnamed tribal leaders. It was named after an historic coalition formed to unite a major Arab tribe.

The speaker, whose face was blotted out on the video, said the Islamic state should include Baghdad, the provinces of Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salahedddin, Nineveh and parts of Babel and Wasit. Iraq has 18 provinces.

He said the move to announce the Islamic state came after "the Kurds secured a northern state and a federal state was approved for the rejectionists (Shia Muslims) in the centre and the south".

Iraq's parliament on Wednesday approved a law that sets out the mechanics of forming federal regions, an issue Sunni minority leaders fear might tear the country apart in sectarian civil war. The session was boycotted by the largest political bloc of the Sunni minority.

The video's authenticity could not be verified but it was posted on a main Web site often used by insurgent groups.

The Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group led by Iraq's branch of al-Qaeda, frequently claims responsibility for attacks against US-led forces and the Shia-led Baghdad government.