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Ethiopia Sees Leaders of Somali Islamic Courts as Threat


Ethiopia's prime minister says his country faces a threat from the new leaders of Islamic Courts that controls much of southern Somalia.

In remarks made late Tuesday, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the Courts' leadership is dominated by members of al-Itihaad al-Islamiya.

Al-Itihaad is an Islamic fundamentalist group that Ethiopian authorities blame for bombings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. Both the United States and the United Nations consider the group a terrorist organization with possible links to al-Qaida.

The Islamic Courts last week named the group's leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, its head. The United States says it will have no dealings with Aweys but may deal with the Islamic Courts as a whole if it cooperates with the international communty.

The Ethiopian prime minister also denied allegations that Ethiopia recently sent troops into Somali territory.

Islamic leaders in Somalia accused Addis Ababa of the incursion shortly after fighters loyal to the Islamic Courts won control of Mogadishu and other Somali cities.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.
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