Insurgent Group Claims Thousands Willing to Die

Associated Press
Saturday, November 11, 2006

BAGHDAD, Nov. 10 -- The insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq asserted in a new audiotape Friday that it is winning the Iraq war faster than expected and said it had mobilized 12,000 fighters who had "vowed to die for God's sake."

The U.S. military, meanwhile, reported that three U.S. soldiers and a Marine were killed Thursday in Iraq, bringing the number of Americans who have died in the country this month to 25. At least 105 U.S. troops died in October, the fourth-highest monthly toll of the war.

A roadside bomb killed two of the soldiers and wounded another Thursday in western Baghdad, the U.S. command said. Another soldier was killed and one was wounded by a roadside bomb that struck their truck Thursday during a combat logistics patrol west of Haditha, 140 miles northwest of the capital.

The Marine died Thursday from wounds suffered in the western province of Anbar, the military said. At least 11 of the American deaths in November have been in Anbar.

On the audiotape made available on Web sites, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq also welcomed the Republican electoral defeat that led to the departure of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He added that the group's fighters would not rest until they had blown up the White House.

"The al-Qaeda army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God's sake," said a man who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.

The tape could not be independently verified.

Muhajer, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also urged the United States to stay in Iraq so his group would have more opportunities to kill American troops. "We haven't had enough of your blood yet," he said.

The Iraqi army, meanwhile, said it had captured the Egyptian leader of an al-Qaeda cell in Anbar province. Acting on a tip, Iraqi soldiers descended on a building in the city of Rawah, 175 miles northwest of Baghdad, where they arrested local al-Qaeda commander Abu Muhayyam al-Masri.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company