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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Zarqawi followers 'vow revenge'
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
The results of Zarqawi 's autopsy are not being made public yet
Al-Qaeda in Iraq will launch "major attacks" to avenge the death of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a web statement thought to be from the group has said.

The attacks would "shake the enemy from its sleep", the statement said.

The organisation said it had renewed its allegiance to Osama Bin Laden, but no successor to Zarqawi has been named.

The statement came as two US army doctors completed an autopsy on Zarqawi, who was killed after a US bombing raid on Wednesday.

Military spokesman Maj William Willhoite said the results would not be made public yet.

In some of the latest Iraqi violence:

  • Four people are killed and at least 10 injured in a car bomb attack in the central Karrada district of Baghdad

  • A bomb attack in the north of the city severely injures a senior police officer, Maj-Gen Ali Hussein, and kills his driver

  • Gunmen shoot dead an official of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's party the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and at least one other person in the northern oil city of Kirkuk

  • Police in the southern town of Amara say five civilians were killed in a gun battle between British troops and insurgents on Saturday which left one British soldier wounded.

Sensitive to traditions

The internet statement was issued in the name of al-Qaeda in Iraq, but apparently published by the Mujahideen Council, an umbrella organisation of insurgent groups founded by Zarqawi.

For those who were waging holy war for the sake of al-Zarqawi, al-Zarqawi is dead - but for those who were fighting for the sake of God, God is alive and eternal
Al-Qaeda in Iraq statement

Its authenticity has not yet been confirmed.

"We plan large-scaled operations that will shake the enemy and rob them of sleep," the statement said.

It added that the group had not been affected by Zarqawi's "martyrdom".

"The organisation has strengthened its back, regained its footing and has been renewed with fresh blood," it said.

"For those who were waging holy war for the sake of al-Zarqawi, al-Zarqawi is dead. But for those who were fighting for the sake of God, God is alive and eternal."

Questions have arisen over how Zarqawi died since the Americans revealed he had still been alive following the bombing of a safe house by US planes.

It is unclear if Zarqawi's remains will be released to his family in Jordan.

The two experts were sensitive to Muslim traditions about dealing with the body, another US spokesman Maj-Gen William Caldwell said.

Zarqawi was still alive when Iraqi police got to the scene of the air strikes but he died shortly afterwards from his wounds, Gen Caldwell said earlier. US planes dropped two 500lb (230kg) bombs on his safe house near the city of Baquba on Wednesday.

The top US general in Iraq, George Casey, denied widely reported eyewitness comments suggesting that Zarqawi had been beaten by US soldiers before his death.

Gen Casey told the US Fox News network that the allegation was ludicrous and that in fact Zarqawi was being given medical attention.

US military officials had earlier said Zarqawi did not survive the strike, which they said came after tip-offs from his organisation.









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