Al-Qaida operatives in Iraq threatened on Monday to "destroy the cross and to slash the throats of those who believe in the cross."
The group cautioned Pope Benedict XVI, who sparked anger among Muslims worldwide after making remarks last week about Islam, that they would continue fighting their holy war against the rest of the world's non-believers.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on their Islamic website, warning the pope of their agenda to take over Rome.
"You infidels and despotic, we will continue our jihad (holy war) and never stop until God avails us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism when God's rule is established governing all people and nations," the statement said.
The group also warned the non-Muslim world that an ultimatum would be given - "conversion to Islam or death by the sword."