, WASHINGTON, Dec 25 – An Islamic extremist has threatened in an audiotaped message to set off terrorist bombs in countries celebrating Christmas, the SITE monitoring group said Friday.
The recording, titled "The Zero Hour has arrived" and directed to "the unbeliever and Christian countries celebrating Christmas," lasts one minute, three seconds and bears the voice of a member of the Shumukh al-Islam forum, said the US-based monitor.
The speaker, according to SITE, said that failure to heed warnings to cease bloodshed in Muslim countries would result in attacks.
"Your (Christmas) fireworks will act as an alarm for the time of our devices to blow up — devices that we, not Santa Claus, are going to offer to you as gifts, to turn your night into day and your blood into rivers," he said in a translation provided by SITE.
The threat came from a single individual on a forum reportedly linked to the Al-Qaeda network.
Hours after SITE\’s announcement of the audio message, a bomb blast wounded six people Saturday during Christmas mass at a church on a southern Philippine island known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, according to the military there.
And in northern Nigeria late Friday suspected Islamist sect members attacked a church during Christmas Eve services, but were repelled by the military and no worshippers were hurt, a military spokesman said.
Christmas Day marks the one-year anniversary of the botched attempt to blow up a US airliner by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who wore explosives stitched to his underwear, in a plot attributed to Al-Qaeda.
It also comes amid warnings in Uganda and Nigeria that militants were likely planning attacks during the Christmas holiday, and the accidental death of a suicide bomber in Stockholm two weeks ago who apparently intended to kill Christmas shoppers.
Meanwhile, on a southern Philippine island known to be the bastion of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group a bomb blast Saturday injured six people in a church.