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Defiant al-Zarqawi shows face on video

Followers told to keep faith; U.S.-led effort in Iraq mocked


Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Acts of terror

(CNN) -- Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi surfaced Tuesday in a Web site video, defending the insurgent fight, exhorting followers to keep the faith and mocking the U.S.-led effort in Iraq.

The video displays newly developed missiles that the insurgents say they plan to use in their fighting.

It comes two days after al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden issued a tape in which he slammed the West for a "crusader-Zionist war" against Islam. (Full story)

"We are defending your honor," al-Zarqawi says. "I speak to you, my nation, so maybe I can find listening ears and good hearts."

A CIA technical analysis has concluded the voice on the videotape is that of al-Zarqawi, a CIA spokesman told CNN.

A U.S. counterterrorism official characterized al-Zarqawi's words as "a lot of jihadist bravado." (Watch a rare video of al-Zarqawi -- 2:57)

Al-Zarqawi makes reference to Iraq's prolonged political process and says the video was being recorded last Friday, the day the United Iraqi Alliance broke a logjam by choosing Jawad al-Maliki as prime minister-designate.

On the video, al-Zarqawi disdains the efforts by Iraqis to form a new government.

"The enemy is failing, and they are trying to attract two kinds of people to this silly play of parliament," he says. One is "those who pretend to be part of the mujahedeen, even though they never suffered the hard life of the mujahedeen." The other is "those who never defended their lands against the crusaders."

He adds, "The majority of those seats are for the Shiites and the liberal Kurds and liberal Sunnis, so we know that the rule will always be for the tyrants and apostates."

In remarks addressed to U.S. President Bush, al-Zarqawi castigates the United States for rejecting a truce with Osama bin Laden.

"You will never live in peace until we live in peace," he says.

He makes reference to Israel and Zionism, saying "our eyes are on Jerusalem."

"The crusader enemy entered Iraq so they can control our nation and assist the Zionists," he says.

In the video, a fighter tells al-Zarqawi during a training sequence in a location labeled as Iraq's Anbar province that the insurgents' recent attacks had been in response to a visit to Iraq by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. That visit occurred a few weeks ago. (Full story)

Al-Zarqawi also makes reference to the establishment of the Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq. The creation of the insurgent coalition was announced on Web sites linked to al Qaeda in Iraq on January 15.

The counterterrorism official said the tape seems to be an effort to suggest unity among insurgents in Iraq, since it refers to the council.

The video is the first time the Jordanian native has been seen speaking without a mask since emerging as the leader of the insurgency in Iraq.

There have been still photographs of al-Zarqawi and audio messages delivered by him.

In this video, the bearded al-Zarqawi is wearing a black head covering and what intelligence sources said is a suicide belt over a black shirt.

In one portion he speaks to the camera with a firearm in the background. In another he is seated on the floor with a firearm by his side and three masked people with him. He also is shown standing in a dusty, barren field, wielding a firearm.

One of the masked fighters in the video says that insurgents have been able to develop two missiles each with a 40-kilometer (25-mile) range and a payload of 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

One of the missiles seen has Qaeda 1 written on it. Another says Quds 1. Quds means Jerusalem in Arabic. An insurgent says it is capable of penetrating armor and that they plan to use it soon.

The fighter says militants were able to kill soldiers and infidels and that it performed well in an unnamed city in Anbar.

Iraq's most wanted

Al-Zarqawi -- the most-wanted man in Iraq -- has eluded U.S. and Iraqi authorities for years, and the United States has posted a $25 million bounty for him.

He and his followers have taken responsibility for -- or been accused of -- perpetrating or aiding suicide bombings, car bombings, beheadings and other acts of brutality.

In one videotaped posting, al-Zarqawi is suspected of being the masked man who beheads U.S. hostage Nicholas Berg as the victim lets out piercing screams.

In October 2004 al-Zarqawi pledged his allegiance to bin Laden and renamed his group al Qaeda in Iraq.

There were reports in recent weeks that al-Zarqawi had been replaced as a leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. However, U.S. military officials disputed those reports. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said that al-Zarqawi has been and is the military's "primary target."

Al-Zarqawi gained recognition in February 2003 when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the U.N. Security Council to make his case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iraq, he said, was harboring al-Zarqawi's terrorist network, a "collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants."

Two years later, a man thought to be al-Zarqawi said his group had "declared a bitter war against democracy and all those who seek to enact it," and declared all Iraqi candidates and voters enemies of Islam.

Counterterrorism and intelligence officials say al-Zarqawi has forged links with terrorist groups in other countries, including Jordan, where he admitted to organizing the November triple hotel bombings in Amman that killed 60 people and injured scores of others.

Jordanian courts have convicted and sentenced al-Zarqawi in absentia.

In December 2005 he was sentenced to death by hanging for a failed suicide bombing at a border crossing between Jordan and Iraq. In March he received 15 years in prison for a plot to attack the Jordanian Embassy in Iraq.

A court handed him a death sentence for the October 2002 assassination of Laurence Foley, who was with the U.S. Agency for International Development. A court also convicted al-Zarqawi in a December 1999 "millennium" plot against Jordanian hotels.

CNN's Saad Abedine, David Ensor and Henry Schuster contributed to this report.

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