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May 13, 2007

Al-Qaida Group Says It Has Missing GIs (Updated)

Topics: Iraq

searching.jpgAs thousands of U.S. soldiers continue to search today for three American soldiers who went missing after their patrol came under attack in an explosion that killed four other American soldiers and an Iraqi army translator, The Islamic State in Iraq, an al-Qaida front group, is claiming it captured several soldiers in the attack.

It has offered no proof to back up its claim, posted on an Islamic Web site.

Updates:
CNN attributed the claim to multiple postings on Web sites used previously by the Islamic State of Iraq to make announcements.

Reuters reports the group says it is holding "crusader" soldiers:

"God has enabled your brothers at the Islamic State in Iraq on Saturday ... to clash with a crusader patrol in Mahmudiya area at the southern part of Baghdad," its said in a statement posted on a Web site used by insurgent group.

"Some were detained and some were killed," it said without giving numbers. "We will provide the full details of this blessed operation as soon as they are available," it added.

Apparently the soldiers were attacked by jihadists wearing Iraqi army uniforms -- thus highlighting once again the impossibility of distinguishing friend from foe in Iraq, and peaceful Muslim from jihadist (hat tip - Robert Spencer).

Residents in Mahmudiya, an area of orchards and palm groves that is a bastion of Sunni Arab militants including Al Qaeda, said gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms had stopped a US patrol comprised of three Humvees at a fake checkpoint before attacking the soldiers, an Iraqi army source said.
Aljazeera has much of the same:
Al-Qaeda's supporters in Iraq have said they have captured several US soldiers after ambushing their patrol south of Baghdad. The Islamic State in Iraq, which works closely with al-Qaeda, said in a statement posted on a website on Sunday that its fighters had captured the soldiers - it did not say how many - in an attack on Saturday. "God has enabled your brothers at the Islamic State in Iraq on Saturday ... to clash with a crusader patrol in Mahmudiya area at the southern part of Baghdad," the statement said. "Some were detained and some were killed. "We will provide the full details of this blessed operation as soon as they are available."
More to come ...

Related: Al-Qaeda planning militant Islamic state within Iraq.

A RADICAL plan by Al-Qaeda to take over the Sunni heartland of Iraq and turn it into a militant Islamic state once American troops have withdrawn is causing alarm among US intelligence officials.

A power struggle has emerged between the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq, an organisation with ambitions to become a state which has been set up by Al-Qaeda, and more moderate Sunni groups. They are battling for the long-term control of central and western areas which they believe could break away from Kurdish and Shi'ite-dominated provinces once the coalition forces depart.

According to an analysis compiled by US intelligence agencies, the Islamic State has ambitions to create a terrorist enclave in the Iraqi provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and parts of Babil.

"Al-Qaeda are on the way to establish their first stronghold in the Middle East," warned an American official. "If they succeed, it will be a catastrophe and an imminent danger to Saudi Arabia and Jordan."

The US conviction that the Islamic State could seize power is based on its use of classic Al-Qaeda tactics and its adoption last October of a draft constitution. This was entitled Notifying Mankind of the Birth of the Islamic State and was posted on a website based in Britain. The group named 10 ministers under its emir, Abu Amer Al-Baghdadi. They included a war minister, Abu Hamza Al-Muhajer who is also known as Abu Ayub al-Masri and is Al-Qaeda's commander in Iraq.

Posted by Abdul at May 13, 2007 8:38 AM



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