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Iraq Links Zarqawi to Baghdad Car Bombing - 2004-06-17


Iraq's interim interior minister says one of the most sought-after terrorists in the world, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was likely behind a deadly suicide car bombing in Baghdad.

Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib told reporters he believes the Jordanian-born terrorist was involved in the early morning suicide car bombing at an Iraqi army recruiting center, which killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 100.

"I think there are some links with Zarqawi," he said.

Mr. Naqib did not say what those links are, but Tuesday, a group called Monotheism and Jihad, which claims to be led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, took responsibility for a car bombing in Baghdad the day before. That blast killed 13 people, including five foreign contractors working to rebuild Iraqi power plants.

The interior minister added that an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was arrested in Iraq earlier this month, suggesting that the man in custody may be providing fresh information about the terrorist and his plans for spreading violence in Iraq.

Mr. Naqib says he is fairly certain that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other foreign fighters, not Iraqi insurgents, are to blame for some 20 car bomb attacks that have taken place this month.

"We are quite sure and confident that they are not Iraqis," he maintained. "We have very good indications that they came from abroad."

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is believed to have links to Muslim extremist groups around the world, has personally claimed credit for numerous attacks against coalition forces and their Iraqi allies in Iraq. Among them are the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad last August and the bombing of the Italian police headquarters last November in southern Iraq.

The United States is considering increasing the reward for information leading to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's capture from $10 million to $25 million, the same amount the United States is offering for al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden.

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