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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
US seizes on Zarqawi out-takes
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in clips released by the US military on Thursday
At first all goes well...

The US military has released "out-takes" of a video of al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hoping to cast him in a new light.

In the video, Zarqawi was shown wearing black fatigues and confidently firing long bursts from a machine gun.

But in excerpts which the US says were edited out of the video, Zarqawi fumbles with a jammed weapon and struggles to switch it to automatic.

The US produced the extra film at a news briefing in Baghdad.

The US military said it was discovered last month in a raid on a house in Yusufiya, a town just south of Baghdad.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in clips released by the US military on Thursday
... but then a subordinate is called to help as the gun jams

In the new extracts, a smiling Zarqawi is initially shown firing single shots from a light machine gun.

But the smile disappears as the weapon jams, and off-camera, an aide is heard ordering another to "Go and help the sheikh".

In another clip, Zarqawi is shown to be wearing white, US-branded sports shoes under his black uniform.

Later a subordinate grabs the machine gun - but drops it as the scalding barrel burns his hand.

The US has pounced on the clips in a bid to undermine the impact of Zarqawi's original video message, believed to have been his first.

"We have a warrior leader, Zarqawi, who doesn't understand how to operate his weapon system and has to rely on his subordinates to clear a weapon stoppage," said Maj Gen Rick Lynch, spokesman for the US military, who presented the clips to the media on Thursday.

"His close associates... do things like grab the hot barrel of the machine gun and burn themselves.

"Makes you wonder," said Gen Lynch.


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