Image: Al-Qaida in Iraq chief
US Military via AP file
Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, who took over al-Qaida in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed, is seen in a U.S. military handout photo.
updated 9/7/2006 2:54:27 PM ET 2006-09-07T18:54:27

Al-Jazeera TV broadcast an audiotape Thursday that was said to be the first released by the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, who succeeded the militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In the tape, a man identifying himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer said he was confident that victory will be achieved and called on all mujahedeen to unite on the battlefield, the station reported.

It played a brief excerpt from the tape, in which the speaker said, “Our enemy has unified its ranks against us. Isn’t it time to get together, worshippers of God?”

Al-Muhajer, a previously unknown militant, became the leader of Iraq’s most feared insurgent group after al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June. U.S. officials say they believe al-Muhajer is an Egyptian.

Al-Muhajer, a previously unknown militant, became the leader of Iraq’s most feared insurgent group after al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike June 7. Al-Muhajer was announced as al-Qaida in Iraq’s new leader on June 12 and received Osama bin Laden’s endorsement in an audiotape from the al-Qaida chief.

Believed to have bin Laden training
U.S. officials say they believe al-Muhajer is an Egyptian known as Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, an explosives expert who trained with al-Zarqawi in bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan.

In the first major attack claimed by the group under al-Muhajer, al-Qaida in Iraq said it carried out the kidnapping and slaying of two American soldiers whose mutilated bodies were found in southern Baghdad on June 20.

Soon after he was named to his position, al-Muhajer issued a statement threatening horrific attacks “in the coming days” — but he issued no messages in his name since.
The U.S. military has put a $5 million bounty on al-Muhajer’s head.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments