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Bin Laden Applauds Killing Of 62 Shiite Muslims

From the reporters at terrorist enabling Reuters:

Bin Laden warns Iraq Shi’ites after bomb kills 62

By Ali Jasim and Alastair MacdonaldSat Jul 1st

Osama bin Laden appeared to warn Iraq’s majority Shi’ite Muslims they were not safe from al Qaeda’s new leader in the country after a car bomb devastated a Baghdad market on Saturday, killing more than 60 people.

"It is not possible that many southerners violate, alongside America and its allies, Ramadi, Falluja, Mosul … and that their areas remain safe from retaliation," a voice like that of the Saudi-born Sunni Islamist said in an Internet recording.

Ramadi, Falluja and Mosul are bastions of Sunni rebellion, while Iraqi southerners are overwhelmingly Shi’ite Muslims.

At least 62 people were killed and 114 wounded, police said, in Saturday morning’s blast in the Shi’ite militia stronghold of Sadr City. It was the bloodiest attack in Iraq in three months and by far the deadliest since bin Laden’s lieutenant in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. air strike on June 7.

An angry response from radical Shi’ites could again raise the prospect of all-out sectarian civil war, six weeks after the formation of a U.S.-backed national unity government and a week after its Shi’ite prime minister reached out to the once dominant Sunni minority with a plan for national reconciliation.

Around the time of the market bombing, a Sunni Arab member of parliament and seven of her guards were kidnapped by gunmen as they drove through another mainly Shi’ite area of Baghdad.

The fugitive Bin Laden, if indeed it was he, also gave his seal of approval to the Jordanian’s reputed successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, on whom the United States placed a $5 million bounty.

In a recording released a day before the explosion, bin Laden had urged vengeance for Zarqawi, a "lion of Jihad."

RECONCILIATION PLAN

The bombing made mock of the new unity coalition’s three-week-old security clampdown in Baghdad and the United Nations envoy said it seemed intended to sabotage Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s national reconciliation plan to end the violence.

Maliki himself took his "olive branch" to the heart of Sunni Islam, bin Laden’s homeland of Saudi Arabia, commencing his first foreign trip with efforts to win Sunni Arab support.

Stung by the carnage his Mehdi Army militia failed to avert in its own backyard, radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr savaged the reconciliation plan through spokesmen.

Lawmakers from Sadr’s movement, which is potent among poor Shi’ites oppressed under Saddam Hussein, threatened to pull out of Maliki’s coalition if he did not grant their forces greater powers to impose their own security in eastern Baghdad.

Angry crowds formed around the scene of devastation at the sprawling outdoor market along a main road in the slum district.

"May God curse the Sunnis," one passer-by yelled. "If the government can’t protect people, they should hand security over to the Mehdi Army or to the people," another told reporters.

Many Sunnis blame the Mehdi Army for death squad killings which became a feature of sectarian violence that exploded in February after al Qaeda was blamed for bombing a Shi’ite shrine.

A previously unknown Sunni group claimed responsibility for the market blast, which bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda: "Here we answer your aggression," said the statement signed by the Supporters of the Sunni People on a militant Web site.

Standing amid blood and gore, one man at the scene said: "We demand Maliki not seek reconciliation with terrorists."

SAUDI VISIT

Maliki, who arrived in Jeddah, was to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. For a Shi’ite whose community is viewed by many Sunnis as pawns of non-Arab Iran, it is a potent gesture of Muslim unity. His Shi’ite predecessor made his first trip to Shi’ite Tehran.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Saudis have fought alongside the Sunni insurgents in Iraq in the past three years.

In other peace efforts, Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie hosted tribal chiefs from Sunni regions on Saturday in a bid to win their backing for Maliki’s somewhat vague project.

Washington hopes Sunni involvement in politics since a December election can draw the sting of the insurgency that has killed over 2,500 Americans. But al Qaeda Islamists have vowed to kill Sunnis who take part in the political process.

It was not clear who was behind the kidnap of member of parliament Taiseer Najah al-Mashhadani from the Iraqi Accordance Front, the main Sunni bloc in the legislature.

Friday’s revelation by the U.S. military of a major new investigation into grave misconduct came too late in the day to elicit much reaction in Iraq. Officers said they are looking into whether troops raped a woman at Mahmudiya, just south of Baghdad, then killed her and three relatives, including a child.

Weren’t we told after Zarqawi died (and even before) that he had lost influence with Bin Laden because of his attacks against fellow Moslems?

Our one party media need to pick a story and stick with it.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, July 1st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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