Video threatens Germany, Austria over Afghanistan

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VIENNA, Nov 20 (Reuters) An Islamist group calling itself ''Global Islamic Media Front'' has sent a video demanding Germany and Austria withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, Austria's interior ministry said today.

The video, published on the web site of Austrian daily newspaper Oesterreich, also demands the release of two Austrians arrested in Vienna in September on allegations they helped produce a similar video message published in March.

''The German soldiers still occupy Afghanistan and we repeat our call from the last video that Germany withdraw their troops from Afghanistan,'' the video's German subtitles say. ''This only serves your own security in your country.

''The same applies to Austria too. The Mujahideen have spared you so far, therefore the number of dead soldiers is not particularly high. But this will now change...'' Germany has some 3,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the ISAF mission. Three Austrian soldiers serve as part of ISAF in Kabul.

''We address the Austrian government: We demand the brothers and sisters arrested in Vienna be released immediately, or else you will regret that you dared to lock up Muslims in your prisons,'' it says.

A spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry said it got the video a few days ago and is investigating its origins.

''There is no identifiable, immediate threat, but nevertheless such a message needs to be taken seriously,'' the ministry's Rudolf Gollia said. Austria has not raised security levels for government members.

REITERS RSA BST2145

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