17.6.06

Aljazeera airs al-Baghdadi audiotape

Aljazeera.Net - Aljazeera airs al-Baghdadi audiotape:

In an audiotape broadcast by Aljazeera, a purportedly major figure in the Iraqi uprising has said the killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, will strengthen fighters' determination.

Abu Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the head of the Mujahidin Shura Council - which consists of five anti-US and anti-government groups including al-Qaeda in Iraq - described al-Zarqawi's death as a 'great loss'.

The tape aired on Friday appears to be an attempt to rally support for the Sunni fighters. 'This is a message to the enemies of God, the Crusaders, the rejectionists and the renegades,' the voice says, referring to the US-led forces, the Shias, and the Sunnis in the Iraqi government.

'The martyrdom of the leader [al-Zarqawi] will not change the arena of confrontation. Rather, it will become fiercer and stronger,' al-Baghdadi says. Al-Zarqawi was killed when by a US air strike on the house in Baquba where he was meeting his advisers on June 7.

'This leader [al-Zarqawi] has laid the foundations and his great loss will not lead to weakness. He will remain a symbol for all the mujahideen, who will take strength from his steadfastness,' he says.

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