Iraq's P.M. shrugs off death threats
Allawi turns to NATO for security training
With one week until the handover of power, some questions remain.
Iraq's interim prime minister receives a public death threat.
CNN's Sohn Jie-ae reports the South Korean hostage's death.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi shrugged off two death threats delivered via television and the Internet Wednesday, saying he remains determined to bring democracy to Iraq.
The latest threat, contained in a videotape broadcast by the Arabic-language television station Al-Arabiya, came from a previously unidentified group that called itself Group of Jihad and Resistance.
On the videotape 10 people -- dressed in black and holding weapons, their faces obscured by scarves -- stood behind an 11th person who read a statement threatening to kill Allawi and members of his government if he follows through on his threat to impose martial law if the current unrest continued.
An earlier threat came on an audiotape believed to have been recorded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Iraqi insurgency leader blamed for several attacks against U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians.
The prime minister shrugged off the tough talk, which included claims that he had been targeted in the past for assassination.
Allawi's spokesman, Georgis Sada, told CNN in a telephone interview that Allawi smiled and said: "Zarqawi is not the enemy of Iyad Allawi only, but he is the enemy of all Iraqis."
The audio message was posted on a Web site that has previously aired statements and video from al-Zarqawi's terrorist group.
CNN terrorism experts said the voice appeared to be Zarqawi's, but the CIA has not authenticated the tape. (Full story)
"As for you Allawi, the supposedly democratically elected prime minister, we have prepared something very special for you," the voice on the tape said.
"We have prepared a special poison for you and a sharp sword and we have filled a glass for you and we have filled a glass with death especially for you.
"You don't even know how you have repeatedly escaped from our many attempts, but we promise you we will continue the match with you until the end."
The message also referred to the assassination last month of Izzedine Salim, head of the now-disbanded Iraqi Governing Council.
"We won't stop until we make you drink from the same glass that Izzedine Salim drank from or until we die," it said.
The Web site said al-Zarqawi's network was responsible for Salim's killing.
Allawi -- who was handpicked by U.S. and U.N. officials to lead the interim government until elections scheduled to be held in January -- said the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi must know that conditions will change for insurgents after Iraq is granted sovereignty.
He said the Iraqis can defend themselves and predicted that Iraq's march to democracy will succeed.
Along with the threat to kill Allawi, the voice on the audiotape threatened to continue attacks against coalition and Iraqi government targets.
The threats came amid continued violence a week before sovereignty is slated to be transferred by the Coalition Provisional Authority to the new interim government June 30.
Appeal to NATO
There were six reported attacks on convoys Wednesday, wounding a coalition soldier and a civilian contractor, said coalition spokesman Capt. Patrick Swan.
On Tuesday, insurgents beheaded South Korean hostage Kim Sun-il, five days after he had been abducted and after the South Korean government refused to scrap a plan to send troops to Iraqi.
Hours after Kim's body was found, coalition forces conducted the second strike within a week on what coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said was an al-Zarqawi safe house in Fallujah. Kimmitt said about 20 people were believed killed who could have been foreign fighters.
The coalition also appealed to every citizen of Iraq to provide tips as to the whereabouts of al-Zarqawi and his allies.
"Everybody in this country needs to get off the fence," a coalition official said Wednesday. "We will stop operations against him when he is dead or captured."
Militants calling themselves the Group of Jihad and Resistance threatened Allawi's life in a video that aired on Al Aribya Wednesday.
The group claiming responsibility for the beheading of Kim, 33, a translator for a South Korean company, said it has links to al-Zarqawi, but a U.S. official said it was not clear whether he played a role in the death.
The group also claimed to be the same group that killed U.S. hostage Nicholas Berg in May. (Full story)
In an effort to improve the fight against insurgents, Allawi this week sent a letter to the NATO secretary-general requesting training and technical assistance, a NATO spokesman said.
The matter is expected to be discussed informally among the nations and then formally at the heads-of-state level at next week's NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
Some NATO countries have been involved in the Iraq war. The alliance agreed to help Poland in its role there.
Other developmentsThe Pentagon on Wednesday denied charges from a lawyer representing Saddam Hussein who alleged the former Iraqi leader was being abused. A senior official said the International Committee of the Red Cross has had access to him and that "clearly Saddam Hussein is being treated within the guidelines of the Geneva Convention."John Negroponte was sworn in Wednesday as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, an office he will assume after the planned handover of power next week.Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, and Iraq's new president, Ghazi al-Yawar, visited the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. They met with local dignitaries in what was regarded as a farewell trip for Bremer, who will give up the post after Iraq gains sovereignty, and a meet-and-greet for al-Yawar.Eight British military members -- two sailors and six Marines -- arrested by Iran for crossing into Iranian waters will be released soon, but details were still being worked out. The British Defense Ministry said the sailors were based in southern Iraq and were detained while delivering a boat. (Full story)The followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr refused an invitation to take part in a national assembly that would choose an advisory panel for Iraq's government. Al-Sadr's Mehdi militia and U.S. troops battled for weeks, but fighting has died down in the flash-point towns of Najaf and Kufa.South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun expressed sadness Wednesday over the killing of Kim. (Full story)