Zawahiri praises Al Qaeda leaders killed in Iraq (Lead)

May 25th, 2010 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, May 25 (DPA) Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, praised two senior affiliates killed in a military operation in Iraq and urged the country’s militants to rally behind their cause, according to a recorded message made public Tuesday.
“Mujahedeen in Iraq, led by the lions of the Islamic State in Iraq, move forward in your paths, and know that you are paying the price for imminent victory,” al-Zawahiri urged in the message posted on Islamist websites.

Abu Ammar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, and Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, were killed in April in a raid carried out by Iraqi and US forces. Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki said the operation was aided by information gathered from Al Qaeda defectors.

Al-Zawahiri is often described as a lieutenant of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The authenticity of his latest message has not yet been verified by an independent source.

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