Resistance 'not pro-Saddam or Usama'

A Baghdad-based resistance group told a US newspaper its members were initially pro-American at the beginning of Iraq's occupation.

    Nationalist resistance continues to grow steadily

    Group leader known only as "Abu Mujahid" told the Washington Times his men would never take orders from ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, or the al-Qaida network.

    But the crime and chaos that followed the US-led invasion in April showed troops were acting as occupiers and not as liberators, he claims in the article published on Tuesday.

    "My colleagues and I then voted to fight. So we began to meet and plan... none of us are afraid to die, but it is hard. We are just men, workers, not soldiers," added the Iraqi.

    To prove that he was really a resistance leader, he accurately predicted a mortar attack on the compound of the US-led Provisional Authority, said the newspaper.

    US Central Command in Florida declined to comment, when contacted by, whether the military would be pressing the Washington Times as to whether it had any more information on impending attacks.

    Spelling it out

    "I don't like Usama bin Ladin and don't want to fight jihad against America. The Iraqi people just want the Americans to leave our country"

    Abu Mujahid,
    resistance leader

    Mujahid said his group took no joy in fighting against Americans, but wanted to see their country free of occupation.

    "We actually took a vote at a meeting last week," he said, laughing. "If the Americans leave and Saddam comes back, we will fight him, too."

    He said anti-occupation groups had a loosely organised command structure that prevented any individual from knowing the overall strategy of the resistance force.

    Abu Mujahid has 10 men under his command and knows the leader of another cell. Both men report to a group commander responsible for five groups, thus ensuring that no member knows more than 12 members at most.

    "I think my organisation has about 2500 men," said Abu Mujahid.

    As for Saddam Hussein, Mujahid said he believed he was too busy hiding from his American pursuers to have time to lead anti-occupation forces.

    "I don't like Usama bin Ladin and don't want to fight jihad against America. The Iraqi people just want the Americans to leave our country."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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