Two callers issued threats yesterday against the Italian government following the arrest in Rome of seven alleged Islamic Jihad members for plotting a suicide attack on the U.S. Embassy there. One caller denied that the group had planned any such attack.
The Iranian Embassy also issued a statement denying as "totally baseless" reports linking the alleged plot to Iran. The threats came in separate telephone calls to foreign news agencies in Beirut, Reuter reported.
The first caller, claiming to represent the hitherto unknown Islamic Jihad-Beirut Command, denied the group had any connection with a planned attack in Rome. He said the Italian charge was "a lie to sow doubt about the combative ability of our movement."
The second caller, who opened his statement with the Islamic Jihad group's trademark, a quotation from the Koran, said Italy had been immune from its attacks because Moslems harbored no ill will toward the Italian people. "But it seems the Italian government has started following the ways of American imperialism and desperately defending its devilish role," the caller added.
United Press International reported from Rome that Domenico Sica, Italy's top judge in terrorism cases, interrogated the seven men accused of plotting an attack on the U.S. Embassy. Authorities have said all seven carried Lebanese passports, noting, however, that the passports may be false.