Osama bin Laden has released a new audiotape warning that French hostages will be killed if President Nicolas Sarkozy does not withdraw forces from Afghanistan.
Mr Sarkozy has promised to take a tough line with terror threats, even as his government has aroused the wrath of Islamic groups by perceived anti-Muslim measures such as banning the face-veil for women.In the tape, played on al-Jazeera television, Bin Laden says" "With its debt and budget deficit France does not need new fronts."
Two French television journalists, Stephane Taponier and Herve Ghesquiere, have been held in Afghanistan with three local colleagues since 2009 and there have been previous threats to kill them. However, a new video showing them still alive was released in November.
A French foreign ministry spokesman said the country was determined to keep its troops in Afghanistan. "We are determined to pursue our action in favour of the Afghan people with our allies," a spokesman said. Telegraph