Group Threatens Al-Zarqawi Over Attacks

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  1. Lefty Wilbury
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    http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2004/jul/06/070605422.html


    Group Threatens Al-Zarqawi Over Attacks
    By DANICA KIRKA
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -

    An armed vigilante group threatened on Tuesday to kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for anti-insurgency attacks that have killed Iraqis, making the first threat against the Jordanian militant with al-Qaida ties.

    Insurgents denoted a car bomb that killed 14 Iraqis, underscoring their determination to carry out attacks a week after the U.S. transferred power to an interim government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

    The car bomb in the town of Khalis tore through a tent packed with hundreds of Iraqis mourning a man killed in an assassination attempt of a local official by insurgents days earlier.

    The blast left a yard-wide crater, set five cars on fire and burned the tent. Dismembered corpses lay on the floor. White plastic chairs where mourners had been sitting in orderly rows were broken and twisted.

    Elsewhere, seven U.S. Marines assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in western Iraq, the military said. Two died in action Monday, while a third died of his wounds Monday. Four other Marines were killed Tuesday while conducting security and stability operations.

    Allawi - a longtime CIA ally with ties to former military chiefs from Saddam Hussein's regime - has said security is his top priority, and his government is expected Wednesday to announce a new law that will expand security forces' powers and allow the imposition of curfews.

    The emergence of the vigilante group potentially brings a new element into the Iraqi insurgency, highlighting internal opposition to al-Zarqawi.

    In a videotape sent to Al-Arabiya television, the previously unknown group, which called itself the "Salvation Movement," ordered al-Zarqawi to leave the country and questioned how he could justify the killing of civilians and his threats to assassinate Allawi.

    The video was in the style of those put out by anti-U.S. insurgents: a group of gunmen, faces hidden behind scarves, toting automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers in front of an Iraqi flag.

    But the five gunmen in Tuesday's footage turned their threats against al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian Islamic radical accused in numerous attacks.

    One gunman, seated behind a table reading a statement, questioned how al-Zarqawi could use Islam to justify assassinations, kidnappings and the killings of innocents.

    "He must leave Iraq immediately, he and his followers and everyone who gives shelter to him and his criminal actions," he said, speaking in an Iraqi accent.

    "We swear to Allah that we have started preparing ... to capture him and his allies or kill them and present them as gift to our people," he said. "This is the last warning. If you don't stop, we will do to you what the coalition forces have failed to do."

    It was not known if the group was made up of anti-U.S. Iraqi insurgents, gunmen close to the new government or security forces, or a wholly new faction.

    Some guerrillas who have been waging a campaign against U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies have said previously they reject al-Zarqawi, insisting they are a homegrown insurgency unconnected to the foreign fighters thought to be surrounding the Jordanian. But there have also been recent signs of Iraqi insurgents and al-Zarqawi working together.

    On Monday, U.S.-led coalition forces launched an airstrike on a suspected al-Zarqawi safe house in the militant stronghold of Fallujah. The attack killed 15 people, witnesses said.

    In other violence:

    - Insurgents gunned down a son of the head of the city council in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad. Hussein Amer Ali Suleiman, 18, was the younger son of Sheikh Amer Ali Suleiman, the head of al-Dulaimi tribe - the biggest in Anbar province

    - A roadside bomb targeting a British military convoy killed an Iraqi civilian. No British forces were wounded.

    - U.S troops fired on a car that failed to heed warnings to stop at a checkpoint in Baghdad Monday, killing one child and wounding another, the military said Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, the family of Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun said they had received word the Lebanese-American had been freed by his captors. A Lebanese government official said Hassoun was released after promising to leave the U.S. military. However, his whereabouts remained unknown.

    Early Wednesday, an insurgent group calling itself the "Iraqi Legitimate Resistance," said it had kidnapped an Egyptian truck driver. Video released to Al-Jazeera television showed the man, who identified himself as Alsayeid Mohammed Alsayeid Algarabawi.

    The group said it captured the man while he was driving a truck of fuel for U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. Al-Jazeera did not say whether the group made any demands or threatened to kill its captive.

    The bombing in Khalis, near the city of Baqouba, apparently targeted local officials attending the wake for a victim of an attack Sunday that targeted the council's chairman and killed his brother. Hundreds of mourners were drinking black coffee symbolizing grief when the car blew up within yards of the tent, said Maj. Gen. Walid Al-Azawi.

    The governor of Diyala province, Abdullah al-Juburi, had just left the wake when the blast went off. Guerrillas have been targeting local officials and police throughout Iraq because they are seen as collaborators with Americans.

    Violence has rocked Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, in recent weeks. U.S. 1st Infantry Division soldiers hammered insurgents who tried to seize government buildings and police stations only days before the June 28 power handover.

    Some of those assaults were blamed on al-Zarqawi's network, which launched a series of car bombings before the handover that killed nearly 100 people, many of them civilians. His followers have also claimed responsibility for the beheading of American Nicholas Berg and South Korean Kim Sun-il.

    --
     
  2. HGROKIT
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    RIGHT ON!

    It is about damn time!
     
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