Thursday, May 26, 2005

Iraqi Government Official Confirms Zarqawi Wounded

Iraq's Interior Minister, Bayan Baqer Solagh, confirmed that terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded. Meanwhile, purported al Qaeda communications deny naming an interim replacement for Zarqawi. From The Australian:
BAGHDAD: Iraq's Interior Minister last night confirmed Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been wounded.

"We received information five days ago saying Zarqawi had been wounded but we don't know the seriousness of his injuries," Interior Minister Bayan Baqer Solagh said at a press conference with Defence Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi.

The confirmation of Zarqawi's wounding came as al-Qa'ida's branch in Iraq denied it had named a stand-in for the terrorist leader.

As more people died in fighting in Baghdad, an earlier internet statement purportedly from the al-Qa'ida organisation in Iraq said the group's leaders had appointed Abu Hafs al-Kurani to replace Zarqawi.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified. But last night a second statement, claiming to be from the al-Qa'ida organisation in Iraq, denied that the Jordanian terrorist had been replaced.

"We deny the claim about the appointment of one Abu Hafs or anyone else," said the statement, signed by the information section of al-Qa'ida in Iraq.
Reports of Zarqawi having been gravely injured first came out during Operation Matador, the Coalition offensive in western Iraq.

More on the Zarqawi wounding story here.