In Iraq, a shadowy group of gunmen is threatening to kill accused Jordanian terrorist
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saying his alleged involvement in a series of executions
and deadly bombings undermines Islam. Another car bomb killed at least eight
people Tuesday northeast of Baghdad on a day when five American Marines were
also reported killed in combat.
In this videotape broadcast on Arab language television, members of a group
calling itself the Salvation Movement question how Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed
for some of Iraq's deadliest terrorist attacks and two beheadings of foreigners,
can justify such acts in the name of Islam. In what amounts to the first such
threat of its kind, the gunmen on the tape vow to kill him if he does not leave
Iraq. U.S. forces have been after the Jordanian as well and have carried out
a number of deadly air strikes on targets in Fallujah where they believe his
supporters or even Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself are active.
The threat by one Muslim group to go after another in the name of Islam comes
on the same day that another car bomb exploded north of Baghdad, this one where
people were gathering to attend funeral services for a previous attack.
As early as Wednesday, Iraq's interim government is expected to announce
new security measures to better combat an insurgency that more than 150,000
foreign forces in the country, nearly all of them American, have not yet been
able to put down.
Meanwhile, confusion surrounds the status of a Lebanese-American Marine who
has been missing in Iraq since last month and who was threatened with execution.
In Lebanon, the brother of Corporal Wasef ali Hassoun says the Marine has now
been released, but there has been no confirmation of that and a U.S. military
spokesman in Baghdad says the Muslim serviceman remains listed as captured.
On Saturday, Islamic websites had reported that he had been beheaded, but
later, another group reported the Marine to be in safe hands.
In another development, the New York Times, reports the Central Intelligence
Agency did not tell President Bush that relatives of some Iraqi scientists
had reported before the war that Iraq was no longer making weapons of mass
A U.S. official who asked to remain unidentified tells VOA such information
was deliberately not passed on because it was deemed unreliable and made by
people fearing retaliation by Saddam Hussein's government. The Bush administration
had cited Iraq's alleged failure to give up its banned weapons as the main
reason for its decision to go to war last year but no weapons have yet been