Death to Zarqawi III

Did Zarqawi Flee to Iran?

Currently, the reports on Zarqawi are, as of Sunday morning in London,…

Zarqawi is injured and has fled Iraq.

Al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had fled the country after being seriously injured in a U.S. missile attack, a British newspaper reported on Sunday, quoting a senior commander of the Iraqi insurgency.

Al-Zarqawi has shrapnel lodged in his chest and may have been moved to Iran, The Sunday Times newspaper reported, adding his supporters may try to move him on to another country for an operation.

The paper quoted an unnamed insurgency commander as saying the Jordanian-born militant was wounded three weeks ago when a U.S. missile hit his convoy near the northwestern Iraqi city of al Qaim.

“Shrapnel went in between the right shoulder and his chest, ripped it open and is still stuck there,” the commander said, adding a second piece of shrapnel penetrated Zarqawi’s chest but exited from his back.

“There was concern about spinal injuries,” the commander said. “But his ability to move eliminated that fear.”

This theory is probably the most likely since it has now been repeated by several different sources. For more on the Carnival of Zarqawi go here or here.

(7:30 PM) From the Telegragh News:

Western terror officials have been monitoring al-Qa’eda message boards for two years, sifting postings about beheadings, suicide bombs and kidnappings.

Last week, their attention focused on the claim that Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, who is accused of beheading the British hostage Kenneth Bigley and masterminding the bloody insurgency, had been badly injured in a shoot out with American troops.

According to one posting, purporting to be from his official spokesman, Zarqawi was spirited out of Iraq after being treated in a hospital in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold.

Rita Katz, a US terrorism expert who monitors jihadi websites, said that the claim had the ring of truth. “There is only one source of proper information on al-Qa’eda operations in Iraq. If it does not come from him, it is not authentic,” she said.

“We are fairly sure that Zarqawi was injured as this was on a board used by his official spokesman, Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi.”

Ms Katz is the director of the Washington-based SITE Institute, which tracks international terror activity. Its Arabic speakers analyse terrorist sites and pass intelligence to law enforcement agencies…

…A man who identified himself as Abu Huzayfa, Ramadi’s al-Qa’eda spokesman, said: “Abu Musab has been injured and is leading us from his bed. But there are thousands of Zarqawis here among us. We will never give up.”

** Zarqawi in Iran **

This just out, from the Khaleej Times (Sunday 1:00 AM)…

“a senior insurgent commander in close contact with his group,” it said it was believed that Zarqawi—the most wanted insurgent in Iraq—was in Iran.

The report contradicted a statement on several Islamist websites Friday in which Al Qaeda in Iraq asserted that Zarqawi was “in good health” and directing military operations.

The Sunday Times said Zarqawi has suffered bouts of high fever since he was wounded by a missile that struck his three-car convoy three weeks ago as he fled a US offensive near al-Qaim, a town in northwest Iraq.

“Shrapnel went in between the right shoulder and his chest, ripped it open and is still stuck in there,” the commander was quoted as saying.

His condition late last week was described as stable, but supporters were preparing to move him to a “non-Arab” country for surgery to remove the two pieces of shrapnel, The Sunday Times said.

The newspaper said the commander’s account could not be independently corroborated, but added that he has proved reliable in the past.

Sunday (9:30 AM)- Iran denies reports:

Iran denied on Sunday a British newspaper report that al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had fled to the Islamic republic after being seriously injured in a U.S. missile attack.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the report in the Sunday Times newspaper was without foundation.

“This is an unprofessional kind of fabricating news,” Asefi told a weekly news conference. “Iran is a clear and transparent country, where such covert activities do not take place.

Update: (12;00 AM Monday) Bill Roggio has an incredible post on the Al Qaeda network. He’s done some outstanding research. Either that or he infiltrated the upper echelons of the organization.

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