June 15, 2004


Purported letter from militant leader to bin Laden says Iraqi fighters squeezed by coalition (Nadia Abou El-Magd, 6/14/2004, AP)

A leader of militants in Iraq has purportedly written to Osama bin Laden saying his fighters are being squeezed by U.S.-led coalition troops, according to a statement posted Monday on Islamic Web sites.

It was not possible to authenticate the statement allegedly from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian whose insurgent group claimed responsibility for the videotaped beheading of American Nicholas Berg.

Titled ''The text of al-Zarqawi's message to Osama bin Laden about holy war in Iraq,'' the statement appeared on Web sites that have recently carried claims of responsibility for attacks in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

''The space of movement is starting to get smaller,'' it said. ''The grip is starting to be tightened on the holy warriors' necks and, with the spread of soldiers and police, the future is becoming frightening.''

The statement says the militant movement in Iraq is racing against time to form battalions that can take control of the country ''four months before the formation of the promised Iraqi government, hoping to spoil their plan.'' It appears to refer to the government that would take office after the elections scheduled for January 2005.

It also says insurgents are planning to intensify attacks on Iraqi soldiers and police, seen as collaborators with the U.S.-led coalition. Calling Iraqi forces ''the occupier's eye, ear and hand,'' the statement says: ''We are planning on targeting them heavily in the coming stage before they are fully in control.''

Zarqawi was right that their best plan of attack was to foment civil war between the Sunni and the Shi'ites. Lucky he was overruled.

‘Terrorists struggling for survival’ (Daily Times, 6/15/04)

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat has said that the security forces have cornered terrorists who are now struggling for survival and the recent incidents of terrorism were a backlash against recent anti-terrorism measures by the government.

Talking to BBC Radio, the interior minister said that a new trend in terrorism was being witnessed in the last few weeks in which security personnel were being targeted.

“We will continue to fight against them,” he said, adding that the government will take the war on terrorism to its ultimate end. The elements spreading disturbance in the tribal areas are behind the incidents of terrorism in Karachi, said Mr Hayat. He said the army operation in South Waziristan was launched to flush out Al Qaeda activists and their accomplices were trying to strike back. He also said that their leaders had been identified. He said the government would try to resolve the situation in Wana in accordance with local customs. He said that 90 percent of people there were helping the government in the Wana operation and several tribal lashkars were carrying out operations to look for foreign militants.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2004 12:00 AM
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