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Letter Tied to Al Qaeda Is Disputed

October 14, 2005|From Associated Press

CAIRO — A posting on an Islamic website Thursday accused the United States of fabricating a letter in which Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader purportedly laid out plans for expanding the insurgency in the Middle East.

"We in Al Qaeda declare that there is no truth to these claims, and they are baseless, except in the imagination of the politicians of the Black (White) House," says the statement on a website known as a clearinghouse for the terrorist network's material.

The statement was signed by Abu Maysara Iraqi, who claims to be a spokesman for Al Qaeda in Iraq, as Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab Zarqawi calls his insurgent group.

It could not immediately be authenticated.

"We call on Muslims not to pay attention to this cheap propaganda," the statement said.

U.S. officials said the letter dated July 9 to Zarqawi, which was disclosed by the Pentagon on Oct. 6 and released in full Tuesday, was acquired during American operations in Iraq.

The letter, 13 typed pages in its English translation, is attributed to Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri.

It laid out plans to establish an Islamic authority in Iraq and expand the war to Iraq's relatively secular neighbors, including Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

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