Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:32:15 AM.

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daily link  Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A suspect emerges as key link in terror chain: "Wherever European prosecutors turn these days, as they unravel suspected Islamic terrorist cells and track leads across the Continent, they keep coming across the fingerprints of one man: Abu Musab Zarqawi. Mr. Zarqawi, a one-legged Jordanian Bedouin currently thought to be hiding in Iran, has emerged as a central suspect in one Al Qaeda-related plot after another..

Turkish police investigating last November's twin synagogue bombings in Istanbul arrested members of two Islamic groups they said had contacts with Zarqawi. Moroccan investigators concluded that Zarqawi organized and financed last June's quintuple bombing of Jewish and Israeli targets in Casablanca that killed 35 people. Italian and German police recently arrested three men on warrants charging them with helping would-be martyrs to travel from Europe to Iraq, at Zarqawi's behest.

Though intelligence analysts differ over Zarqawi's exact relationship to Osama bin Laden, they agree it has become clear that he has used his leadership of Al Tawhid, a Jordanian extremist group, to develop links not only with Al Qaeda but also with Ansar al-Islam, a radical Kurdish group based in Northern Iraq, the Lebanese Hezbollah, and with North African cells in Europe...

In a lengthy tirade against Muslim clerics for not embracing holy war fervently enough, Zarqawi acknowledged the losses his allies have suffered in the US-led war on terror and which seem to have catapulted him to prominence. "I address you after the approvers and backers [of jihad] have become in short supply, after the wounds have multiplied and the misfortune has worsened, and after many pioneering knights and legendary heroes have passed away," he said on the tape..

He himself has avoided that fate .. [In] 1999 Jordanian authorities tied him to an aborted plot to attack a tourist hotel in Amman over the millennium, for which he was later sentenced in absentia to 15 years' hard labor.  In 2000 Zarqawi traveled to Afghanistan, where, according to US intelligence, he ran an Al Qaeda training camp that specialized in chemical and biological agents before being wounded in the leg by a US bombing raid during the Afghan war in 2001. He then fled to Iran, and thence to Iraq, where doctors reportedly amputated his leg and fitted him with a prosthetic limb.  It was that visit to Baghdad that prompted US Secretary of State Colin Powell to cite Zarqawi [in 2003] as evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein ..

It is Zarqawi's link to new Ansar cells in Europe that are of most concern to European investigators [especially] because of his alleged expertise in chemical and biological agents: Men whom authorities link to him were arrested a year ago in London and Paris in possession of small amounts of ricin.."  He is reported to be taking refuge in Iran.

  5:09:38 PM  permalink  

Evidence Ties Al Qaeda to Recent Iraq Attacks: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, is now thought likely to have played a role in at least three major car-bomb attacks in Iraq that have killed well over 100 people in the last six months, according to senior American officials. ..

One of Mr. Zarqawi's top lieutenants, Hassan Ghul, a Pakistani, was arrested by Americans near the Iranian border last month, and has been interrogated by American military and intelligence officials. .. In a raid on a safe house in Baghdad on Jan. 23, American officials found an electronic copy of a document believed to have been written by Mr. Zarqawi. That document was a detailed proposal asking senior leaders of Al Qaeda for help in waging a "sectarian war" against Shiites in Iraq in the next six months. Parts of it were made available to The New York Times.  The writer of that document indicated that he had directed about 25 suicide bombings inside Iraq, "some of them against Shiites and their leaders, the Americans and their military, and the police, the military and the coalition forces." A senior United States intelligence official in Washington said Sunday that he knew of "no reason to believe the letter is bogus in any way."

  5:09:30 PM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:32:15 AM.