Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s commander says 4,000 foreign fighters have been killed since 2003, calls for release of the Blind Sheikh, and encourages an influx of bomb makers and nuclear scientists.
Banner announcing the release of the al-Mujahir audiotape, from the al-Bouraq Forum
Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq’s Mujahideen Shura, has released an audiotape. In the tape, Al-Muhajir reveals much about his identity, as well as the status of Iraq in the international jihad.
First, the audio provides new information concerning the identity of Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. Counterterrorism expert Evan Kohlmann has stated that the military has no proof that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (the traveler) and Abu Ayyub al-Masri (the Egyptian) are one in the same. However, in al-Muhajir’s latest speech, he openly calls for the release of the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdul Rahman, who is currently in a U.S. prison for issuing a fatwa encouraging acts of violence against US civilian targets. “I appeal to every holy warrior in the land of Iraq to exert all efforts in this holy month so that God may enable us to capture some of the Western dogs to swap them with our sheik and get him out of his dark prison,” said al-Muhajir.
The Blind Sheikh is the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group (Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya), and his release is a cause celebre in Egyptian terrorist circles. Abu Ayyub al-Masri is a leader in EIJ. After the death of Zarqawi, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is also EIJ, wanted to place someone in command of Iraq’s Mujahideen Shura who was a known quantity and loyal to central leadership, according to an American intelligence source. The military maintains to this day that al-Muhajir and al-Masri are one in th same, and based on the excellent intelligence that led to the death or capture of six senior Sunni insurgent and al Qaeda leaders over the past month, the military very likely has a good picture of who’s who in al Qaeda.
Also of major importance in the tape is the revelation that thousands of foreign al Qaeda have been killed since 2003. “The blood has been spilled in Iraq of more than 4,000 foreigners who came to fight,” said Mujahir. “The Arabic word he used indicated he was speaking about foreigners who joined the insurgency in Iraq, not coalition troops,” notes the Associated Press. Osama bin Laden has called Iraq “the epicenter of jihad,” and the influx of foreign al Qaeda into the country certainly supports this statement. As we have repeatedly stated, Iraqi is both a breeding ground and a magnet for terrorism.
Mujahir also calls for Islamist scientists to ply their crafts in Iraq. “The field of jihad (holy war) can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them,” said Mujahir.
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