Friday, November 4

Al-Qaeda, Iraq insurgents mark Muslim holiday

"Al-Qaeda's branch in Iraq rallied Muslims to step up the fight while an affiliate group put out a film hailing the "Sniper of Baghdad" to celebrate the Eid ul-Fitr Muslim holiday starting on Thursday.

The Islamic Army in Iraq, an insurgency group linked to the Al-Qaeda terror network, posted on its website a film offered "on the first day of the Eid as a gift for the people of monotheism: the sniper of Baghdad."

With Islamic hymns hailing the insurgency in the background, the film shows a series of clips of US soldiers in Iraq falling allegedly by sniper fire from a shooter who is not shown but identified by the nickname "Juba."

After each clip, the film shows a picture of US President George W Bush near coffins wrapped with US flags.

It also shows quotations made by US officers to Western newspapers and magazines, and in which they speak about Juba and his continued success at shooting troops before vanishing.

"Some worry that Juba is on his way to becoming a resistance hero, acclaimed by Iraqis," read one quotation.

The film, which lasts for more than 15 minutes, said Juba has killed 143 US soldiers, five officers and six snipers and he has wounded 54 more soldiers in the last 12 months.

It also showed the faces of various foreign leaders who sent their countries' forces into Iraq -- including Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Australian Prime Minister John Howard -- being targeted by virtual sniper fire.

Late on Wednesday, the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers posted a statement on the Internet confirming the sighting of the new moon to signal the Eid feast in an unprecedented move. ..."

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