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3rd Group Makes U.N. Blast Claim

August 26, 2003|From Associated Press

CAIRO — A third group has claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, posting the claim on a Web site known as a clearinghouse for Islamic political thought.

The statement -- also quoted at length Monday in the London-based Arab newspaper Al Hayat -- is signed Abu Hafs el Masri Brigades. The group takes its name from the alias of Mohammed Atef, a top deputy of Osama bin Laden who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan in November 2001.

U.S. officials in Washington said they could not authenticate the claim, however, and it remained unclear whether the group exists or has any link to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

The claim was first posted Sunday on the site of London-based Saudi dissident Saad Fagih's Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia. Fagih deleted the posting Monday, but it reappeared on the site page, which is similar to a chat room.

He said that he would continue to remove it and that he regularly deleted postings lacking authenticity.

At least two other unconfirmed claims of responsibility have surfaced.

One was sent to the Arab television station Al Arabiya last week, signed by a previously unknown group, the Armed Vanguards of the Second Muhammad Army. The other was from a group calling itself Muhammad's Army.

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