Wednesday, May 25, 2005

US backs Zarqawi wounding reports

It's looking more likely that the initial reports concerning the wounding of Zarqawi are indeed accurate.

The Herald Sun has this:

US OFFICIALS have given greater credence to reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq, was wounded in an ambush with US forces but said they still have not been able to confirm it."The assessment is that all these data points may fit together to indicate he has been injured but we can't confirm he has been," a senior US defence official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

and then there's this

In an odd report from MEMRITV al-Jazeera airs the following:

Reporter: Perhaps no man has experienced the paradox of living in the dark while all the world's spotlights are focused on him as much as the mysterious Jordanian, Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi.

This makes him somewhat similar to Osama Bin Laden and the rest of the Al-Qaeda leaders. He differs from them in that he has refrained from sending televised messages, especially in the past two years, in which he his star shone as the most brutal leader of the armed militants fighting the Americans in Iraq.

Before that, only few people had heard the name Al-Zarqawi or knew what he looked like. But when he began to be pursued as America's most wanted man in Iraq, this myth gave rise to attempts to describe him as a symbol of the struggle by some, and a horrifying nightmare by others, while questions regarding his personality and goals still arouse much controversy.
Voice of Al-Zarqawi: "With Allah's help, we raid them as they raid us, and attack them as they attack us."

Reporter: Al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmad Fadil Nazzal Al-Khalayla, was born in 1966 in the Jordanian city of Zarqa, to a family from the Bani Hasan tribe. He spent his childhood in a poor and crowded environment, and in his teens, he became what they call a neighborhood bully. He soon turned to religion and began to frequent mosques, where he made friends with members in Islamic groups calling for Jihad.

In the late 1980's, Al-Zarqawi joined the so-called "Jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan." There he met a man named Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdissi, and after returning to Jordan, the two formed what came to be known as the "Al-Tawhid" group. Its members were arrested by Jordanian security forces in 1994, and were tried in the State Security court.

Maybe it just me but this reads an awful lot like an obit.

Update: Iraq's Interior Minister agrees....

BAGHDAD, May 26 (Reuters) - Reports that Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded are true, Iraq's interior minister told a news conference on Thursday.

Update II: Another interesting article reporting the murderous letch with a bullet still in his back after piercing his lung.

US and Iraqi forces say they have captured or killed about two dozen top members of Zarqawi's network in recent months. The Sunni insurgent sources said such deaths may have undercut support for Zarqawi.

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