Al-Khalayleh tribe disowns al-Zarqawi

Terror leader's powerful clan: We have "severed links with him until doomsday."

zarqawi 88 (photo credit: )
zarqawi 88
(photo credit: )
Family members of Jordanian-born al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have renounced the terror leader, telling King Abdullah II on Sunday that they were "sever links with him until doomsday." Al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadeel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 deadly attacks on three Amman hotels, which killed 58 people. In half-page advertisements in Jordan's three main newspapers, 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin, also reiterated their strong allegiance to the king Al-Zarqawi had threatened to kill the king in an audiotape Friday. "As we pledge to maintain homage to your throne and to our precious Jordan ... we denounce in the clearest terms all the terrorist actions claimed by the so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, who calls himself Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi," the family members said. "We announce, and all the people are our witnesses, that we - the sons of the al-Khalayleh tribe - are innocent of him and all that emanates from him, whether action, assertion or decision." The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who will no longer enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to spill his blood. The statement said anyone who carried out such violence in the kingdom does not enjoy its protection. "A Jordanian doesn't hit himself with his own spear," they wrote. "We sever links with him until doomsday." Al-Khalayleh is a branch of the Bani Hassan, one of the area's largest and most prominent Bedouin tribes, which along with several other tribes form the bedrock of support for the royal family's Hashemite dynasty. Relatives hold senior posts in the army and other government departments. Al-Zarqawi has often boasted of his family's influence was he was jailed in his native Jordan, said Yousef al-Rababaah, an ex-con who shared al-Zarqawi's cellblock for four years until both were freed under a royal amnesty in 1999. "Prison wardens and other prisoners feared him because of his family connections and influence," he told The Associated Press recently. The family statement follows a rally Friday by dozens of angry al-Khalayleh tribe members who denounced al-Zarqawi. The terror leader took his name from the city of Zarqa, 27 kilometers northeast of Amman. "If my son was a terrorist, I wouldn't hesitate to kill him," said Mousa al-Khalayleh, who said he spoke on behalf of the tribe. "This is the slogan raised by the tribe as of this moment." Al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks in Jordan, including a foiled attack in April 2004 using chemicals and explosives in attacks in striking Jordan's secret service agency, according to confessions by some of his terror coconspirators. Officials have said thousands of people would have been killed had the attacks been carried out. Al-Zarqawi was sentenced to death in absentia here for planning another conspiracy that led to the 2002 killing of US aid worker Laurence Foley. He also leads a campaign of bombings and kidnappings in Iraq, and the United States has offered $25 million for information leading to his capture.