RealNews

Experts: Al-Zarqawi Rises in Prominence

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader allegedly claiming responsibility for the graphic beheading of a U.S. civilian in Iraq, is adopting an increasingly public and influential role in the decentralized world of Islamic militants, U.S. officials and terrorism experts say. On Tuesday, an Islamic Web site released a video titled “Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slaughters an American infidel with his own hands,” according to one translation. In the most gruesome moments chronicling the beheading of Nicholas Berg, five men disguised by head scarves and ski masks shout “Allahu Akbar!” — or “God is great.” As recently as March, U.S. officials said al-Zarqawi’s modus operandi was not to make taped public pronouncements nor to claim credit for attacks. But that changed five weeks ago when he released what is believed to be his first audiotape — a 33-minute recording in which he called on Sunni Muslims in Iraq to “burn the earth under the occupiers’ feet.” Full Story

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