Islamists deny war threat

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The Independent Online
Paris (Reuter) - Algeria's outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) denied yesterday that it declared war on France or set a deadline for Western embassies to "shut or face bloodshed" in its struggle to oust the country's military rulers.

The FIS executive in exile said such alleged threats were part of a campaign, "orchestrated by certain Western media", to discredit the Muslim fundamentalist opposition in Algeria. "Neither the Islamic Salvation Front nor the Islamic Salvation Army [its military wing] has issued such a statement," it said in a declaration faxed to Paris.

"The FIS considers the conflict is limited to the Algerian people on the one side and the military dictatorship on the other, and it...condemns all action against innocents, whatever their views or religion and whoever carries them out."

The FIS statement said "dubious threatening letters" warning some Western governments to close their Algiers embassies by tomorrow or face reprisals served only the interest of the army-led government.