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Tape Attributed to Zarqawi Claims Humiliation of U.S.

September 12, 2004|From Associated Press

CAIRO — An audio recording purportedly made by alleged terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi surfaced Saturday and boasted that Islamic fighters have humiliated U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

The speaker noted the August battles between U.S. forces and militiamen loyal to a radical Shiite Muslim cleric in the city of Najaf, indicating that it had been made recently.

There was no way to verify the authenticity of the 45-minute recording, which was posted on a website. The voice on the recording was similar to that of previous tapes attributed to Zarqawi and used a similar style of rhythmic speech. There was no reference to the Sept. 11 attacks in the recording, titled "Where Is the Honor?"

The recording opened with songs and speeches before introducing the speaker as Zarqawi. The ensuing speech lasted about 25 minutes. "The holy warriors made the international coalition taste humiliation

The speaker then talked about the August fighting in Najaf, saying, "It was not Najaf they were after, but the courageous and steadfast Sunni Triangle." He was referring to a large swath north and west of Baghdad, dominated by Sunni Muslims, where resistance to the American-led forces is fiercest.

"This is how they wanted to scare us, by [showing us] those they crushed in Najaf. And this is how the cowards function," the speaker said, claiming that the fight was a prelude to U.S. forces resuming their siege of Fallouja, west of Baghdad.

U.S. troops surrounded Fallouja in April, fighting intense battles with insurgents before pulling back and leaving the city to the Fallouja Brigade, an Iraqi security force that proved ineffective and has since disbanded.

Much of Zarqawi's support is believed to be concentrated in Fallouja. The Jordanian militant is blamed for a string of terrorist acts, including the May beheading of kidnapped American businessman Nicholas Berg. Washington has put a $10-million bounty on his head.

The last recording purportedly made by Zarqawi surfaced July 7. That one spoke of killing Berg to avenge Muslims who had suffered at the hands of American-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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