Pentagon and U.S. intelligence officials question authenticity, from CNN.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — the Jordanian-born insurgent leader in Iraq — has been wounded, several Islamist militant Web sites reported Tuesday.
The message could not be independently verified.
In Washington one Pentagon official with access to military intelligence said, “We have no information that would confirm that he has been wounded or injured.” The official added, “Nor have we seen anything that says he hasn’t been. We just don’t know.”
Some Pentagon and U.S military officials find the claim doubtful, saying similar rumors in the past have never been confirmed.
The latest message is attributed to militant Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, who has posted messages from al Qaeda in Iraq before.
It said that al-Zarqawi’s comrades are very proud of what they described as his heroic wounds. The message also threatened that the “resistance will get tougher” as U.S.-led attacks on insurgents intensify.
The message also asks for “prayers for our leader.”
The author “doesn’t go into the seriousness of the injuries,” said Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs, who analyzed the posting.
“He asks the brothers, as he calls them, to pray for his health and to pray that God will protect him. He does also say that they see this injury as an honor, a mark of honor and there was a little threat there in that message, threatening what they call the enemy — that is, of course, the U.S. forces.
“If indeed there is an injury, the injury is serious enough for the group to be inclined to announce it publicly so that in case of death, it won’t be a total shock.”
The message “could be just a prelude to announcing something even more serious,” Nasr said.
While the statement is similar to previous messages from al-Zarqawi’s group, it doesn’t bear the group’s logo…
They have a logo?