Six Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups form new body

DUBAI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Six main Sunni Islamist insurgent groups in Iraq on Thursday announced the establishment of a new council to fight U.S.-led forces, Al-Jazeera television reported.

The satellite channel aired excerpts from a video recording in which a spokesman announced the formation of the Political Council for the Iraqi Resistance, with the aim of working together under one umbrella as a unified resistance group.

"We, the Jihadi factions of Iraq, announce the establishment of the Political Council for the Iraqi Resistance," said the spokesman, whose face was obscured by darkness.

The report said the council includes the Mujahideen Army, Ansar al-Sunna Group (Sharia Council), the Islamic Association for the Iraqi Resistance, the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas of Iraq and two other unknown groups, according to the recording.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, one of the main organisations operating in the country, was not included in the group.

The spokesman said the council's political programme was based on two key principles: that the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq is illegal and that armed struggle is a legal mean for driving foreign forces out of the country.

Ansar al-Sunna and other groups have claimed several abductions and killings of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers since the March 2003 U.S.-led war in Iraq.

In May, three other Sunni Islamist groups said they had formed a coalition aimed to expel U.S.-led forces from Iraq.

There has been increasing friction between al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni Arab insurgent groups.