Insider 12/27/04: 'Bin Laden' Backs Al Zarqawi

A new audio statement, purportedly by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, supports Iraq's most wanted militant Abu Musaab al Zarqawi and calls him the leader of al Qaeda organization in Iraq. The man purported to be Bin Laden also calls on boycotting the upcoming elections in Iraq. This is bin Laden's second audio statement in less than two weeks.

This comes as the violence in Iraq continues. Top Shiite political leader Abdul Aziz al Hakim escaped a deadly suicide bombing in Baghdad Monday, which killed 15 people. Al Zarqawi had claimed responsibility for the assassination of al Hakim's elder brother top Shiite cleric Mohammed Bakr Al Hakim last year. In an Internet statement last week, al Zarqawi's group purportedly denied carrying out operations against Shiites, but attacks on Shiites are consistent with al Zarqawi's stated aim of fostering sectarian warfare in Iraq.

INVESTIGATIONS

'Bin Laden' Back Al Zarqawi

A new tape purportedly from Osama bin Laden backs Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, according to the Arabic al Jazeera TV. (AP)

Pakistan


Al Qaeda Prisoner 'Helped Investigators Track Down Suspects'

Al Qaeda's telecommunications engineer Mohammed Naeem Nur Khan, who was arrested this summer, provided information that helped intelligence services catch cells around the world, according to Sejeel Shahed aka Abu Ibrahim the former head of the fundamentalist group "Al Muhajerun" in Pakistan. In an interview with Asharq Al Awsat, Shahed, who was in prison with Nour Khan in Lahore, claims that the latter was the one who told them about the whereabouts of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. He says Nour Khan also led the British authorities to a cell in Britain, resulting in the arrest of 13 men in London, including Babar Ahmed, a relative of Nour Khan. He also told officials about another relative of his living in NY called Jenid Babar, 29, who was later arrested. Shahed says Nour Khan was the only prisoner who was allowed to have a laptop and he was often taken by Pakistani intelligence officials for interrogations. He claims they later found out that he was telling the officials about what's going on inside the prison. Shahed was released from prison and is now in London. He denies having any relations with al Qaeda. (Asharq Al Awsat)

As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are Suspected

When experts from the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency came upon blueprints for a 10-kiloton atomic bomb in the files of the Libyan weapons program earlier this year, they found themselves caught between gravity and pettiness. (NY Times)

Pakistan Arrests Al Qaeda Suspects

Pakistani intelligence agents have arrested two Afghan men suspected of being members of the al Qaeda terrorist network, intelligence sources told CNN. (CNN)

Two Pakistan Army Men Convicted In Assassination Attempt On Musharraf

Pakistani military court has sentenced one soldier to death and another to 10 years' hard labour in jail for involvement in an assassination attempt on President Pervez Musharraf last year, a military spokesman told AFP. (AFP)

Guantanamo


Further Detainee Abuse Alleged

Guantanamo Prison Cited in FBI Memos. (Washington Post)

Kuwaiti Detainee at Guantanamo to Be Freed

U.S. authorities are releasing one of 11 Kuwaiti detainees held at a military detention center for terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, raising questions about why others are not being freed. (AP)

U.K.


Saudi Confident of Dissident's Extradition-Official

A Saudi diplomat said on Monday he was "confident" Britain would hand over a London-based Saudi dissident accused of links to al Qaeda. (Reuters)

U.K. Freezes Saudi Group's Assets

The Bank of England has frozen funds linked to a prominent Saudi dissident accused of links to al Qaeda. (BBC)

Philippines


3 Abu Sayyaf Militants Arrested in Southern Philippines

Security forces seized a cache of weapons and arrested three suspected Abu Sayyaf members in a raid on the remote southern Philippine island of Sitangkai, a military spokesman said yesterday. (Arab News)

Spain


Terror Suspect Arrested In Spain

A fourth man was arrested by Spanish police for alleged links to a gang that attempted to buy explosives for a terror attack, the BBC reported Saturday. (UPI)

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS

Jordan


Jordan Court Acquits Militants of Terror

Jordan's military court on Monday acquitted 13 Muslim militants, including three Saudi fugitives, of conspiring to commit terror attacks against U.S. targets in Jordan, but sentenced 11 of them to prison terms ranging from six to 15 years for possessing explosives. (AP)

Yemen


Terror Convict Admits to Links With Bin Laden

A key defendant in the trial of 15 militants convicted of terror attacks in Yemen told the court yesterday he had maintained ties with Osama Bin Laden. (Arab News)

France


French Magistrate Widens Bin Laden Finance Probe

A French judge has widened a probe into the financial network surrounding the family of Osama bin Laden after questioning his half-brother and learning of a 241 million euro transfer to Pakistan, Le Monde daily said. (Reuters)

IRAQ NEWS

Suicide Bomber Kills 15 People in Iraq

A suicide bomber detonated his car Monday at the gate of the home of the leader of Iraq's biggest political party, killing 15 people and injuring dozens, police said. The cleric was unharmed. (AP)

Iraq Militant Group Posts Video of Mosul Attack

Iraqi militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna Sunday issued a video tape about the bombing of a U.S. army camp which killed 22 people, identifying the suicide bomber as Abu Omar al-Museli. (Reuters)

U.S. Captures Two Zarqawi-Linked Militants in Iraq

U.S. Marines said on Saturday they had captured two leaders of a militant group linked to al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq's restive city of Ramadi. (Reuters)

Iraq's Top Sunni Party Withdraws from Jan. Election

Iraq's top Sunni Muslim party said Monday it was withdrawing from Jan. 30 elections because relentless bloodshed would keep people from voting in the long dominant Sunni north and west. (Reuters)

U.S. Ponders Election Pledge To Iraqi Sunnis

Government posts could be guaranteed for minority group. (The Guardian)

Iraqi Kurds Petition U.N. For Independence Poll

More than 1.7 million Iraqi Kurds have signed a petition calling for a referendum on independence. (ABC)

ANALYSIS & OPINION

Elections in Iraq

Iraqis need to believe that U.S. forces will withdraw. (Asahi Shimbun)

Iraqi Insurgency and Strengthening Military Forces

CSIS expert, Anthony Cordesman, published two new reports on Strengthening Iraqi Military and Security Forces and on The Developing Iraqi Insurgency: Status at End-2004. (The Center for Strategic and International Studies)

Yes, You Must Pull Out - But Also Pay For The Damage

The U.S. isn't protecting or feeding Iraqis, it's stoking violence and hardship. (The Guardian)

An Intelligence Gap Hinders U.S. in Iraq

The U.S. was slow to start creating intelligence networks and has had trouble developing informants because of death threats to Iraqis and their families. (Washington Post)

First We Vote, Then We Kick You Out

As the January 30 elections near, the majority of Iraqis have one thing on their minds: get the US occupiers out - and get them out fast. At the moment, however, the risk of post-election civil war is stronger than ever, with various factions refusing to sit back and let the Shi'ites take control of the country. (Asia Times)

A Glimpse of the Ghost of Vietnam in Iraq Lies and Atrocities

Who said this and when? "The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. (The Independent)

Uncivil Liberties And The Other Victims Of Sept. 11, 2001

Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, millions of words have been written about the "terrorists in our midst" and what law enforcement agencies are doing to fight it. However, few questioned whether an overzealous American government was compromising American civil liberties. (The Daily Star)

Analysts: Bin Laden Seeks Transformation

Osama bin Laden appears to be trying to transform himself from terrorist to political leader, the conclusion reached by some Middle Eastern experts from watching recent messages attributed to the al Qaeda leader. (AP)

The Insider Daily Investigative Report (DIR) is a summary of major news articles and broadcasts relating to investigative news, including international terrorism and developments in Iraq. The DIR is edited daily from foreign and U.S. sources by Chris Isham, Hoda Osman and Brinda Adhikari of the ABC News Investigative Unit. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ABCNEWS.

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