RealNews

Zarqawi gains support in Iraq as hostility to U.S. rises

Once reviled as the man who brought beheadings to Iraq, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is gaining support among Iraqis who are outraged over the trail of razed neighborhoods and dead civilians left by the U.S. military’s anti-insurgent offensives this month. The trademark black banner of Zarqawi’s Tawhid and Jihad group typically hangs in the background of grainy videos that show foreign hostages in Iraq meeting grisly deaths. These days, the ominous flag also pops up in a Baghdad neighborhood known for daily shoot-outs between Islamic militants and American forces. When insurgents burned a U.S. armored vehicle there recently, locals stuffed the black banner in the vehicle’s smoldering gun barrel. In an anti-American demonstration not long ago in the northwest city of Samarra, which is now the object of a joint U.S.-Iraqi military offensive, demonstrators carried the Zarqawi group’s flag in broad daylight through public streets for the first time. Full Story

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