Al-Zarqawi: Iraq conference a "farce"

Anti-US fighter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has threatened to increase attacks on American-led forces in Iraq following an international conference in Egypt, according to an internet statement.

    Al-Zarqawi has a $25 million bounty on his head

    "We are committed to intensifying armed attacks against

    coalition forces and their spies and agents... in response to the

    Sharm al-Shaikh conference - a sordid and suspect farce," said Wednesday's

    statement signed by groups including the al-Qaida Group in the Land

    of Two Rivers (Iraq).

    The international conference that wound up in Egypt on Tuesday

    brought together the world's major powers, neighbours of Iraq, the

    United Nations and others to support the process of political

    transition in Iraq, including the 30 January elections

    .

    Al-Zarqawi's group said it backs the call of

    Saddam Hussein's Baath party,

    which issued a previous statement calling for action against US-led forces in Iraq.

    The signatories said they signed "the statement written by the

    Iraqi Baath party, not because we support the party or Saddam, but

    because it expresses the demands of resistance groups in Iraq".

    The authenticity of the statement could not be immediately

    verified.

    Saddam's Baath party, in power from 1968, was outlawed following

    the US-led invasion of March 2003 that toppled his government

    .

    Muslim scholars criticised

    However, the party continues to exist underground, and charged on

    Monday

    that the Sharm al-Shaikh conference was a "sham".

    It also

    accused Egyptian President Husni Mubarak of wanting to use

    "plotters and mediators" at the forum for US benefit.

    "Numerous Arab regimes neighbouring Iraq, following the lead of

    Mubarak's regime... took part, along with the puppet power [Iraqi

    interim government], in the massacre of Iraqis, the destruction of

    their property, as well as the training and arming of [Iraqi]

    policemen and national guardsmen," the statement said.

    "Numerous Arab regimes neighbouring Iraq, following the lead of

    Mubarak's regime... took part, along with the puppet power [Iraqi

    interim government], in the massacre of Iraqis, the destruction of

    their property, as well as the training and arming of [Iraqi]

    policemen and national guardsmen"

    Internet statement attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

    "The Sharm al-Shaikh conference took place at the US's request...

    the American occupier wants to bring together Arab forces which plot

    against the Arab people and against the future, against the national

    unity and Arab essence of Iraq - a dear aim of Zionism."

    According to a separate recording on another website, al-Zarqawi also hit out on Wednesday at Muslim scholars for

    "betraying the mujahidin", especially in Iraq and Afghanistan

    .

    "Oh scholars of the nation... you have betrayed us in the darkest

    circumstances. You have delivered us to our enemy... you have left

    the mujahidin to confront [alone] the greatest world power," said

    the voice attributed to al-Zarqawi, who has a $25 million US

    bounty on his head.

    "Until when will you abandon the nation to the tyrants of the

    east and of the west, who are inflicting the worst suffering,

    cutting the throats of the mujahidin, the best children of the

    nation, and taking its riches?" said the recording

    .

    Zarqawi relative arrested

    "Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are having their throats cut by the infidels, because of your silence. If you are not knights of God's war, let women do it."

    The tape was not posted by al-Zarqawi's designated media coordinator, Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, and it's authenticity could not be verified.



    The message came as Iraqi security forces were searching for

    al-Zarqawi north of Baghdad after receiving reports of his presence in

    the region.

    "Oh ulamas of the nation... you have betrayed us in the darkest

    circumstances. You have delivered us to our enemy... you have left

    the mujahidin to confront [alone] the greatest world power"

    Recording attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

    He is accused by the US military of some of the deadliest

    attacks in the war-wracked country and the execution of hostages.

    The tape surfaced as Jordanian security forces detained the husband of al-Zarqawi's sister in Amman.

    Relatives

    of Salih Ilhami told Aljazeera that the authorities arrested him after

    storming his

    home on Tuesday night.

    The authorities also detained al-Zarqawi's nephew.

    Sources from Ilhamy's family added that al-Zarqawi's first wife and his sons left their home in al-Zarqa, near Amman, and dissappeared about three months ago.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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