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banyon
06-11-2006, 12:06 PM
Al-Zarqawi's allies swear to successor
By Associated Press
June 10, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq - After Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, sympathizers rushed to swear allegiance to his successor.

Even though it is still unclear who that would be, followers hurried to Islamic militant Web sites to support the man who will replace the al-Qaida leader.

Several militant Web forums were flooded with messages of well-wishers pledging to "hear and obey" the man they claimed was the new "emir," or leader, of al-Qaida in Iraq: Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Iraqi.

Al-Iraqi appeared in past statements from al-Zarqawi's group as the "deputy emir." His name was on a statement issued Thursday by the group confirming al-Zarqawi's death in a U.S. airstrike and vowing to continue on his path of jihad, or holy war.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has put forward another name. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell identified the "most logical" al-Zarqawi successor as "Abu al-Masri."

Caldwell could likely be referring to Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who was identified in a February 2005 announcement by U.S. Central Command as a close associate of al-Zarqawi. Central Command put a $50,000 reward on al-Masri's head.

Al-Zarqawi's family said Friday it wants to bury him in his hometown, but Jordan vowed the terrorist leader who killed Jordanians in a triple hotel bombing would never "stain" the country's soil.

Al-Zarqawi's family passed out candies to well-wishers who came by the house to celebrate his "martyrdom" - bringing into the open the vein of sympathy that ran through the community even after his clan officially renounced al-Zarqawi last year.

But many seemed conflicted about Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi, proud of his fight against U.S. forces many here see as occupiers in Iraq, but also angry over his attacks in Jordan.

Al-Zarqawi's brother, Sayel al-Khalayleh, said, "I and all members of our family want him (Al-Zarqawi) to be buried in his hometown of Zarqa."

"Everybody must understand that his place must be near his family," he said by telephone. "He is a martyr and should be treated as such."

Security forces closed off the neighborhood around the family home, preventing reporters from approaching.

A top Jordanian security official said Friday that the government will not allow al-Zarqawi "under any circumstances" to be buried in Jordan and "stain Jordanian soil." He pointed to the suicide bombing against hotels in the capital, Amman, in November 2005. Al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq organization carried out the attack, which killed 60 people, most of them Jordanians.

After the U.S. airstrike on the house where al-Zarqawi spent his last days, an Iraqi man said he saw American troops beating a man who had a beard like the militant leader.

The witness, who lives nearby, was one of the first people on the scene of the U.S. airstrike. He said he saw the man lying on the ground near an irrigation canal. He was badly wounded but still alive, the man said.

He said U.S. troops arriving on the scene wrapped the man's head in an Arab robe and began beating him. The witness refused to give his name or show his face to the camera. His account could not be independently verified.

The U.S. military made no mention of any physical contact between U.S. troops and al-Zarqawi other than an attempt to provide him with medical attention.

Zarqawi died shortly after the U.S. military obliterated his hideout northwest of Baghdad Wednesday with two 500-pound bombs. The bombs tore a huge crater in the date palm forest where the house was nestled outside the town of Baqouba.

Initially, the military had said al-Zarqawi was killed outright. But on Friday, the spokesman for the U.S.-led forces in Iraq said Iraqi forces found al-Zarqawi clinging to life.

"He mumbled something, but it was indistinguishable, and it was very short," Caldwell said of the al-Zarqawi's last words.

Iraqi police pulled him from the flattened home and placed him on a makeshift stretcher. U.S. troops arrived, saw al-Zarqawi was conscious, and tried to provide medical treatment, the spokesman said.

"He obviously had some kind of visual recognition of who they were, because he attempted to roll off the stretcher, as I am told, and get away, realizing it was the U.S. military," Caldwell said.

http://www.abqtrib.com/albq/nw_world/article/0,2564,ALBQ_19864_4765489,00.html

Al-Masri Bio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Hamza_al-Masri)

banyon
06-11-2006, 12:07 PM
So is this like a Hydra, or do we just need a roach motel?

Adept Havelock
06-11-2006, 12:41 PM
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...