Al-Zawahri video urges jihad unity
CAIRO — Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda’s No. 2, has issued a new videotape calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq, a U.S.-based intelligence-monitoring group said yesterday.
The Egyptian-born extremist is seen in the 1 hour, 35 minute-long tape dressed in white and addressing topics from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, said the U.S.-based SITE intelligence group, which monitors al Qaeda messages. The authenticity of the transcript could not be immediately verified.
In the tape, al-Zawahri encourages Iraqis and Muslims in general to show greater support for the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda insurgent front in the country, even though it lacks “necessary qualifications,” the SITE group quoted al-Zawahri as saying.
Oil bill snarled as factions argue
BAGHDAD — Attempts to pass a key oil law sought by the U.S. were snarled once more yesterday by deep differences among Iraq’s Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish leaders, delaying parliamentary debate despite the prime minister’s claims of a breakthrough.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has struggled for months to get members of his coalition together behind the bill, part of a long-delayed political package the Bush administration hopes will reconcile Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority with the government, reduce support for the insurgency and ease the country’s violence.
Parliament failed to start debate on the bill yesterday, despite Mr. al-Maliki’s announcement the day before that it would. Sunni and Kurdish members of his coalition rejected the measure, despite Mr. al-Maliki’s claim a day earlier that the Cabinet had approved the bill unanimously.
Canadians killed by roadside bomb
KANDAHAR — A roadside bomb tore through a NATO vehicle yesterday, killing six Canadian soldiers and their Afghan interpreter in a southern region of Afghanistan that has seen recent heavy fighting, officials said.
The blast in Kandahar province’s Zhari district raised the number of foreign soldiers killed in the country this year to at least 102, officials said. Brig. Gen. Tim Grant, the head of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, said the six slain troops were Canadian.
The attack was the deadliest against foreign troops in Afghanistan since May 13, when seven troops were killed — five Americans, a Canadian and a Briton — in a crash of their Chinook helicopter in Helmand province.