The al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi denied reports of talks between U.S officials and some of the insurgents. He also announced the formation of a new unit to combat the Shiite Militia.
Sheikh Abu Mohammed Al Maqsidi, 43, considered to be Zarqawi’s “spiritual mentor” was reportedly arrested in Jordan while giving an interview to Al Jazeera. In a sound record attributed to Zarqawi, he is heard talking about the formation of Omar Brigade the Shiite Badr Brigade, the military branch of the Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Zarqawi describes the function of the new unit as the elimination of the leaders of the Badr Brigade. One of the leaders of Badr Brigade Hadi Al Ameri said Zarqawi’s declaration aimed to incite sectarian conflict in Iraq. Stressing that they were not intimidated by Saddam Hussein, Ameri said, “Even if he forms a hundred brigades, we will stay here, and he and his men will leave.” Zarqawi calls his brigade “the honorable resistance fighting against the invader” who are defending “dishonorable resistance aiming Iraqis” adding that the Iraqi police and army were legitimate targets. He said, “The Iraqi Army is a collaborator of the crusaders, formed from apostates to eliminate Islam and to fight against the Muslims. We will fight against them.” Zarqawi also touched upon US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s statement that Pentagon officials were conducting talks with the Iraqi insurgents. He maintained that such statements aimed to halt the “jihad” in Iraq. Jordanian ring leader expressed his aim to continue their “jihad” on Palestinian soil.