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(photo credit: AP)
A man claiming to be an Iraqi Islamic insurgent has released a video tape urging Osama bin Laden to replace al-Qaida in Iraq's leader with an Iraqi national.
The man, who claimed to be Abu Osama al-Iraqi, said in the 17-minute video tape that there were "deviations" by al-Qaida in Iraq under its new leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
"The group (al-Qaida) in Iraq has deviated ... from your call," said al-Iraqi, whose image was blurred and his voice deformed to cover his identity in the video tape, which was released on a Web site commonly used by insurgent groups. The authenticity of the video tape and the man's identity could not immediately be verified.
With an Iraqi accent, the man addressed bin Laden using the words "my beloved master sheik" and complained about al-Qaida practices in Iraq including the killing of Islamic scholars.
"They planted explosives in the houses, the hospitals and the schools and even the electric transformers," al-Iraqi said. He warned "if we (the insurgency) lost (Sunni support) we will be an easy hunt for the crusaders, the occupiers and their agents of the Shiites."
Al-Qaida in Iraq, according to al-Iraqi, forced all insurgents to join the Mujahedeen Shura Council - an umbrella organization of insurgent groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq - and those who objected were kidnapped, tortured or killed.
In retaliation, al-Iraqi said that some insurgents have decided to counterattack al-Qaida.
"The most dangerous fact is that the Mujahedeen (insurgents) feel that the group itself is dangerous to them," al-Iraqi said.
Al-Iraqi pleaded to bin Laden to "dissolve his allegiances" to al-Masri and appoint "an Iraqi for Iraq as you appointed an Afghani for Afghanistan," in reference to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Some Islamic Web sites that commonly post al-Qaida video tapes said they removed al-Iraqi's tape after it was posted. Commentators on these sites described al-Iraqi as "an infidel," suggesting he was conspiring to tarnish the image of al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida in Iraq named al-Masri as its leader after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, was killed June 7 in a U.S. airstrike. Al-Masri is believed to be Egyptian.
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