CAIRO, Egypt May 26, 2005 — A Web site statement posted Thursday and signed in the name of al-Qaida in Iraq said the militant group has appointed a deputy to take the lead until Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who’s purportedly been wounded, returns. The statement’s authenticity could not be verified.
"The leaders met after the injury of our sheik, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi … and decided to appoint a deputy to take the lead until the return of our sheik," said the statement, which was posted on a militant Web site that two days earlier announced al-Zarqawi had been injured.
It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the statement, which follows recent rumors and claims that al-Zarqawi was wounded, possibly by a bullet penetrating his lung, and that he may have been taken out of Iraq for medical care.
None of those Internet postings and rumors have been confirmed, but the amount of speculation about the Jordanian-born militant has been unusual both in size and scope.
It identified Abu Hafs al-Kurani as "deputy of the holy warriors."
The new statement said that al-Kurani "was known for carrying out the hardest operations, and our sheik would choose him and his group for the tough operations."
The statement again urged Muslims to pray for al-Zarqawi, saying: "We will go on in our way of Jihad until victory or martyrdom and we call upon Muslims to pray for the Mujahedeen and for the safety of our sheik."
It was signed off in the name of Abu Doujanah al-Tunisi of the media committee of al-Qaida in Iraq. Al-Tunisi was not a familiar name signing off such statements.
Da un po’ di giorni, su siti internet frequentati da jihadisti, si rincorrono annunci riguardo la "cattiva salute" di Zarqawi.
La fondatezza di tutto ciò non può essere verificata.
In questo caso sarebbe stata annunciata la sostituzione del leader, con uno dei suoi vice.