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South Korea Tightens Security Following New Al-Qaida Threat - 2004-10-02

South Korea has tightened security at home and overseas after a new threat by the al-Qaida terrorist network against countries supporting the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

The threat came in a recording broadcast Friday by al-Jazeera Arab television, with Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command at al-Qaida, calling on young Muslims to organize and attack the United States and its allies.

Al-Qaida's message called for continuing resistance against the United States and its allies, even if the terrorist group's leaders are killed or taken prisoner.

South Korea's National Security Council met in emergency session Saturday, the Yonhap news agency reports, to plan counter-measures against any attack.

Similar meetings are said to be under way at Seoul's embassies around the world. Immigration procedures reportedly have been tightened at South Korea's airports, among other security precautions, and the Justice Ministry is checking whether any foreigners in the country illegally might be linked to terrorist groups.

South Korea has deployed 2,800 troops to Iraq and plans to send more.

In addition to the United States and South Korea, the latest al-Qaida threat mentioned Australia, Britain, France, Japan, Hungary, Poland and Norway. The message said those countries "all took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya, or enabled Israel to survive."