DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A man claiming to be a senior Al Qaeda figure who the United States believes is operating in Iraq has released a recording calling for the country's Sunni Muslims to fight Shiites and claiming responsibility for high-profile attacks there.
The 33-minute audiotape could be heard Tuesday on a website known as a clearinghouse for militant Islamic messages. The speaker introduced himself as Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Palestinian Jordanian thought to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden.
The tape's authenticity could not be verified. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in Washington, said experts were looking into it.
Middle East counter-terrorism officials said they also were examining the tape. One of the officials in Amman, Jordan, said preliminary indications from people familiar with Zarqawi's voice, and the tone of the threat, suggest the tape is genuine.