Family severs ties with al-Zarqawi

Family members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have renounced the Jordanian-born Al-Qaida in Iraq chief, telling King Abdullah II that they would sever links with him until doomsday.

    Al-Zarqawi's real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh

    Al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, claimed responsibility for the 9 November deadly attacks on three Amman hotels, which killed 59 people.


    He took his name from the city of Zarqa, 27km northeast of Amman.


    In half-page advertisements on Sunday in Jordan's three main newspapers, 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin, also reiterated allegiance to the king.


    Al-Zarqawi had threatened to kill the king in an audiotape on Friday.


    "As we pledge to maintain homage to your throne and to our precious Jordan ... we denounce in the clearest terms all the terrorist actions claimed by the so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, who calls himself Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," the family members said.


    "We announce, and all the people are our witnesses, that we - the sons of the al-Khalayleh tribe - are innocent of him and all that emanates from him, whether action, assertion or decision."


    Family protection


    The statement is a blow to al-Zarqawi, who will no longer enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.


    "A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear. We sever links with him until doomsday"

    Al-Khalayleh family statement

    The statement said anyone who carried out such violence in the kingdom does not enjoy its protection.


    "A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," they wrote. "We sever links with him until doomsday."


    Sunday's message was similar to one sent by members of al-Zarqawi's clan to the king last year.


    That message, which contained fewer signatories, also severed links with al-Zarqawi for claiming a failed plot in April 2004 that targeted the Amman headquarters of the Jordanian intelligence agency, the prime minister's office and the US embassy.


    Beduin tribe


    Al-Khalayleh is a branch of the Bani Hassan, one of the area's largest and most prominent beduin tribes, which along with several other tribes form the bedrock of support for the royal family's Hashemite dynasty.


    Relatives hold senior posts in the army and other government departments.


    "Prison wardens and other prisoners feared al-Zarqawi's because of his family connections and influence"

    Yousef Rababaa,
    former al-Zarqawi cellmate

    Al-Zarqawi boasted of his family's influence when he was jailed in his native Jordan, said Yousef Rababaa, an ex-convict who shared al-Zarqawi's cellblock for four years until both were freed under a royal amnesty in 1999.


    "Prison wardens and other prisoners feared him because of his family connections and influence," he said recently.


    Al-Zarqawi was sentenced to death in absentia for planning another conspiracy that led to the 2002 killing of US aid worker Laurence Foley.


    He also leads a campaign of bombings and kidnappings in Iraq, and the US has offered $25 million for information leading to his capture.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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