M A I N   N E W S

Laden endorses Zarqawi’s successor

Cairo, July 2
Osama bin Laden has endorsed the successor of slain militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an Internet posting and warned Shiites in Iraq against collaborating with the USA in its fight against Sunni insurgents.

Al-Qaida’s number one, in his fifth message this year posted yesterday and his second in two days, threw his support behind Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, tipped earlier by the terror network as the replacement for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was killed by the US army June 7.

The message came as Iraqi Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki started a regional tour seeking support from Sunni Arab countries for his national reconciliation plan.

Although no date was given for the message, it was probably made after June 12, when Al-Qaida announced that Abu Hamza al-Muhajer was the new head of its operations in Iraq.

However, the authenticity of the recording could not be immediately verified.

“I pray to God to make him (al-Muhajer) the best successor to the best predecessor,” Bin Laden said. He urged him to step up “the struggle” to transform Iraq into the centre of an Islamic Caliphate.

In his warning to Iraqi Shiites, he referred to them indirectly as “sons of the south” where they live in the largest numbers.

“We say that many sons of the south (of Iraq) cannot just take part with the USA and its allies in invading Falluja, Ramadi, Baqouba, Mosul, Samarra, Qaem and other (Sunni) cities and villages, and expect that their areas will be safe from a reaction and harm,” he said. — AP


Zarqawi buried in secret grave

Baghdad, July 2
The remains of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have been buried in Iraq in a secret grave, Iraq’s National Security Adviser said today.

“The Iraqi authorities recently buried the body of Zarqawi in a marked but secret place,” Mowaffak al-Rubaie told Reuters. The Jordanian leader of Al-Qaida in Iraq was killed in a US air strike on June 7. The Iraqi, US and Jordanian authorities have been anxious his tomb not become a place of pilgrimage.

Meanwhile, Iraq today named one of Saddam Hussein’s eldest daughter and his first wife on a list of 41 “most wanted” in connection with “terrorism.”

Saddam’s daughter, Raghd, has taken a leading role in organising her father’s legal defence for crimes against humanity. She is believed to spend much of her time in neighbouring Jordan. Her mother Sajida is also on the list topped by former Saddam deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri and including the new head of Al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri. — Reuters





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |