The State Department said on Wednesday it has instructed its embassies and consulates where al-Arabiya investors live to formally protest against the broadcast.

 

 "We find al-Arabiya's decision to air the remarks of these masked terrorists to be irresponsible in the extreme," deputy department spokesman Philip Reeker said.

  

"There can be no excuse for the kind of inflammatory broadcasting that that station allowed to take place." 

 

Incitement to murder

  

He added: "We have to question why an organization claiming to be a legitimate news service would effectively provide this conduit for terrorists to communicate plans, tactics and incitement to murder..." 

 

"Death to spies and traitors ... We will kill them before we kill the Americans"

Iraqi resistance fighters

 

"We would expect those reponsible to take immediate steps to prevent that type of activity, to prevent that sort of incitement to murder and terror." 

 

The broadcast was aired on Tuesday and featured a group of hooded armed men threatening to kill those who cooperate with occupation forces in Iraq.

  

"Death to spies and traitors ... We will kill them before we kill the Americans," the gunmen said in the tape.

 

US threats

 

There was no immediate response from al-Arabiya but Salah Negm, al-Arabiya's editor-in-chief, has said the network will continue to broadcast the truth even if it angers people.

  

The United States, particularly during the Iraq war, complained bitterly about allegedly biased coverage by Arabic-language television stations, including Qatar-based Aljazeera.

 

But Wednesday's harsh verbal assault on al-Arabiya marked the first time Washington has said it would take its case directly to network investors.