BREITBART.COM - Pope burned in effigy in Iraq as Mideast anger simmers
Hundreds of angry Iraqis demonstrated against the pope in this southern Iraqi port city on Monday, burning him in effigy and calling for an apology.
The 500 protestors, followers of Ayatollah Mahmud al-Hassani, a mystical Shiite Muslin cleric, also burned German and American flags and called for the pope to be tried in an international court.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq warned in an Internet statement Monday that it will wage jihad, or holy war, until the West is defeated.
"We say to the servant of the cross (the pope): wait for defeat... We say to infidels and tyrants: wait for what will afflict you. We continue our jihad. We will not stop until the banner of unicity flies throughout the world," said the statement attributed to the Mujahedeen consultative council.
"We will smash the cross," it added, promising Muslims they would "conquer Rome... as they conquered Constantinople."
Another armed group linked to Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sunna (Partisans of the Precepts of the Prophet), threatened in a website statement to attack the West -- Italy in particular.
Calling the pope "Satan's hellhound in the Vatican," the statement addressed to "Crusaders" said: "The day is coming when the armies of Islam will destroy the ramparts of Rome."
In Tehran, Iran's supreme leader Khamenei linked the pope's remarks to caricatures published in a Danish newspaper last year deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. The cartoons set off deadly protests in the Muslim world.
"Leaders of the arrogant imperialists have already defined the links of the chain in this US-Zionist project by attacking Iraq," Khamenei said.
"The issue of insulting cartoons and remarks of some politicians about Islam are different links in the conspiracy of the crusaders and the pope's remarks are the latest links in this," he added.