Al-Qaeda in Iraq Names New Head
June 12, 2006
in Iraq has named a successor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
days after he was killed in a US air strike.
Abu Hamza al-Muhajir is "knowledgeable"
and has a history of fighting a holy war, said an
internet message on a site used by Islamic militants.
But observers say little is known
about him - the name could be a pseudonym.
The news came as US military officials
said Zarqawi had died from injuries consistent with
the results of a bomb.
Questions had arisen over how he had
died after the Americans revealed he had still been
alive following the bombing of a safe house by US
planes on Wednesday.
Click here to see the location of
the attack on Zarqawi
In other developments:
* The US military in Iraq says its
aircraft killed nine people in an attack on a "terrorist
cell", but witnesses say the dead are civilians
* At least 10 people are killed and
many more injured in two car bomb attacks on markets
* US President George W Bush is holding
two days of discussions with military officials and
diplomats for what his advisers say is a crucial reassessment
of the war in Iraq.
The statement from al-Qaeda in Iraq
said its council had "unanimously agreed"
on the choice.
is "a good brother, has a history in jihad [holy
war] and is knowledgeable", the message said.
ask God that he... continue what Sheikh Abu Musab
began," it added.
was not among the names al-Qaeda analysts had expected
as a probable successor, and is believed to be a pseudonym.
say the name al-Muhajir - which is Arabic for immigrant
- suggests he is not Iraqi.
group has been quick to declare their operations will
continue despite the loss of their exceptionally violent
leader, the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner
was accused of leading the rash of kidnappings and
beheadings of foreign workers.
correspondent says military analysts will be now watching
to see if al-Qaeda in Iraq continues its campaign
against Shia Muslims - or focuses its attacks more
narrowly to broaden support among Iraqis.
and five others were killed after US planes dropped
two 500lb (230kg) bombs on a safe house near the city
of Baquba on Wednesday.
buildings where Abu Musab Zarqawi said to have been
The US said Zarqawi did not die instantly in the bombing
the first details of Zarqawi's autopsy, US military
doctor Steve Jones told reporters the cause of death
was a blast injury to the lungs.
analysis had confirmed the corpse was Zarqawi's and
it bore "no evidence of beating or any firearm
injuries", he added.
General William Caldwell said they administered medical
help to the mortally wounded Zarqawi, who had taken
nearly an hour to die after the strike.
military officials have denied widely reported eyewitness
allegations suggesting Zarqawi had been beaten by
US soldiers before his death.
US had earlier announced Zarqawi did not survive the
air strike, which they said came after tip-offs from