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Successor vows to avenge Zarqawi's death

Al-Muhajir also threatened horrific attacks 'in the coming days' in Iraq.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 12:50 IST

The new leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq vowed to avenge Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death and threatened horrific attacks "in the coming days," according to a statement posted on an Islamist website -- the first from the new terrorist leader.

"Don't be overcome with joy about killing our sheik Abu Musab (al-Zarqawi), God bless his soul, because he has left lions behind him," it said.

The statement was posted one day after the group announced that a man identified by the nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Muhajir would succeed the Jordanian-born militant as its leader.

Al-Zarqawi died on Wednesday in a US airstrike on a safehouse in Baqouba, north of Baghdad.

"You crusaders, what will happen in the coming days is something that will turn your children's hair white -- battles that will reveal the falsehood of (your) might, the weakness of your soldiers and your lies," the statement said.

The statement, posted on a website that frequently airs militant messages, appeared with the black banner of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and photos of al-Zarqawi alive and dead. Its authenticity could not be verified.

President George W Bush, who made a surprise visit to Iraq on Tuesday, said a day earlier that al-Muhajir would join the ranks of those sought by the US.

"I think the successor to Zarqawi is going to be on our list to bring to justice," Bush said.

In Wednesday's message, al-Muhajir vowed to continue his predecessor's fight, saying "holy warriors" in Iraq were "stronger than ever.

First Published: Jun 14, 2006 12:09 IST