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Al-Zarqawi Death Prompts Attack Warning

Associated Press Published: June 11, 2006

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Al-Qaida in Iraq vowed Sunday to carry out "major attacks," insisting in a Web statement that it was still powerful after the death of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The statement did not name a successor to al-Zarqawi, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike Wednesday. But it said the group's leadership "renews its allegiance" to Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden "will see things that will bring joy to his heart," it said, vowing "to prepare major attacks that will shake the enemy like an earthquake and rattle them out of sleep."

The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on an Islamic militant Web forum where the group has posted statements in the past.

Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told "Fox News Sunday" he expected the statement from al-Qaida in Iraq because "they're hurt badly." He said there had been a "steady drumbeat" of operations against al-Zarqawi's network since the leader's hideout was bombed.

"It's expected but I think we'll be prepared for it," Casey said of the threat. "But again, you can't stop terrorist attacks completely."

The statement was issued in the name of al-Qaida in Iraq but was put out by the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of five insurgent groups that al-Zarqawi helped create.

The statement said al-Qaida in Iraq's leadership met after al-Zarqawi's death and "agreed to continue jihad (holy war) and not be affected by his martyrdom."

"The organization has strengthened its back, regained its footing and has been renewed with fresh blood," it said, listing previous prominent members who had been killed without setting back the group's attacks.

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