Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of Ali G and Borat, has stepped up his personal security after a Palestinian militia group issued a veiled threat over its portrayal in his latest film, Brüno. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades said it was "very upset" about a scene in which Baron Cohen, playing a gay Austrian fashion reporter, ridicules Ayman Abu Aita, a man identified as the terror group's leader.
The organisation, which claimed responsibility for at least 52 Israeli civilian deaths between 2002 and 2004, said in a statement issued to a Jerusalem-based journalist: "We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man. The movie was part of a conspiracy against [us]."
In the offending scene, Brüno tells Mr Abu Aita: "I want to be famous. I want the best guys in the business to kidnap me. Al-Qa'ida is so 2001."
Mr Abu Aita insists he is no longer involved in the group but was tricked into taking part in Brüno after being told it was a documentary to help "mobilise the young people to help us [Palestinians]." Baron Cohen's spokesman refused to comment on the threat.