The Iraqi defense and interior ministers, confirmed Thursday that they believe Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was wounded.
Iraq’s defense and interior minister said he has confirmed reports that militant leader Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded.
“We have information in the Ministry of Interior that al-Zarqawi was wounded, but we don’t know how seriously,” Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said during a news conference. “We are not sure whether he is dead or not, but we are sure that he is injured.”
Also according to an internet web site, al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group appointed a temporary replacement for al-Zarqawi.
An Internet statement claimed the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group had appointed a temporary replacement for al-Zarqawi. The statement was quickly denied in another Web site claim that disputed Abu Hafs al-Gerni had taken over.
The authenticity of either Internet statement could not be verified, although the second Ã¢â‚¬” denying any deputy had been appointed Ã¢â‚¬” was posted in the name of the person who usually handles the group’s Web site claims and announcements.
Wednesday’s first statement identified al-Gerni as “deputy of the holy warriors,” saying he was “known for carrying out the hardest operations, and our sheik would choose him and his group for the tough operations.”
However, the internet statement that was not verified was then denied by the Web site disputing Abu Hafs Gerni had taken over.
The Internet statement, the authenticity of which could not be verified, was quickly denied in another Web site claim disputing Abu Hafs Gerni had taken over from Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born head of the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group. The conflicting statements follow days of rumors Zarqawi was wounded and possibly killed or moved outside Iraq for treatment.
Update I: CNN
“We are not quite sure if he is alive or dead,” Interior Minister Baqir Jabbur said, adding the government received the report several days ago.
CNN’s Jane Arraf asked Jabbur after the Baghdad news conference whether he believed al-Zarqawi had been wounded. “He said, ‘Yes, it is true he has been wounded,’” Arraf said.
In an analysis of one posting, Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs, said the author “doesn’t go into the seriousness of the injuries.”
“If indeed there is an injury, the injury is serious enough for the group to be inclined to announce it publicly so that in case of death, it won’t be a total shock,” Nasr said earlier this week.
Update II: Fox News - Even with denial, A respected pan-Arab newspaper, Dar al Hayat reported:
A respected pan-Arab newspaper reported Thursday that several candidates were jockeying to succeed al-Zarqawi, none of whom it identified as Abu Hafs al-Gerni, but one being Abu Maysara al-Iraqi Ã¢â‚¬” the man who issued Wednesday’s denial that a deputy had been appointed.
Al Hayat quoted multiple unidentified sources of various names, saying that sources in Jordan close to al-Zarqawi, including a former Iraqi officer, told the newspaper Abu Maysara al-Iraqi and Abu al-Dardaa al-Iraqi, an Al Qaeda operative in Baghdad, were two potential successors.
Middle East experts on Islamic militants told The Associated Press that al-Gerni is a Saudi who has been al-Zarqawi’s military adviser and is the emir, or prince Ã¢â‚¬” as senior commanders are called Ã¢â‚¬” of the military committee of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
The two experts spoke on condition they not be further identified.
Hat Tip: Gateway Pundit
A very good round up also being done by Another Rovian Conspiracy
A great job by Athena