Internet statement claims al-Qaida leader alive

October 8, 2006 19:48


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A statement posted Sunday on an internet Web site known as a clearing-house for al-Qaida material denied recent speculation that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq is dead. Reports that Abu Ayyub al-Masri had been killed surfaced after a raid Tuesday that killed four militants in the western Iraqi town of Haditha. Al-Masri is believed to have taken over al-Qaida in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7 in a US airstrike. On Thursday, the US military announced it was conducting DNA tests on a slain militant to determine if he is the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. However, US and Iraqi officials said it did not appear that the militant was al-Masri, which is a pseudonym for Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.

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