Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in rare videotape threatens: “We will liberate Jerusalem by jihad!”
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources: Zarqawi showed his face for the first time in more than a decade on an Internet tape released Tuesday, the day after three explosions killed 24 people, injured 70, at Dahab in Egyptian Sinai and 48 hours after Osama bin Laden’s audiotaped threat to the Crusader-Zionist enemy was aired by Arabic Al Jazeera TV. The combination may herald a fresh al Qaeda cycle of terrorist attacks.
Our sources reported Monday that the Egyptian authorities are investigating whether a 10-man cell reportedly held ready by Zarqawi in N. Sinai or Gaza for a large-scale attack was responsible for the third Sinai bombing attack in two years.
In the new tape, Zarqawi declared: The crusader enemy entered Iraq to extend Zionist rule from the Euphrates to the Nile. He said “the Americans led by Bush, the Jews, the Crusaders and the ‘Muslim traitors’ will not know a moment’s peace as long as our eyes are open.”
debkafile adds: Zarqawi is held responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq and masterminding the latest al Qaeda terror attacks in Jordan, Aqaba, Eilat, Egypt, Sinai and, most probably, Tuesday’s coordinated triple bombing in the Red Sea resort of Dahab. Egypt now says two suicide bombers and a time bomb caused the three explosions that wrecked two cafes and a supermarket on the breach front.
The casualties appear to be European tourists on their Easter break and Egyptians. There are no immediate reports of Israeli casualties.
A year ago, 88 people, many of them tourists, were killed in a triple blast at Sharm el-Sheikh 100km south of Dahab. Two years ago, many Israelis died in multiple al Qaeda attacks in Sinai.
This year, Israelis joined the stream of foreign tourists to Sinai after an Egyptian assurance that thousands of its security forces had finally cleared out the Qaeda strongholds in the central Sinai Hilal mountain range. A special operation had been conducted among their Bedouin collaborators and the peninsula resorts must now be considered safe.