New Al Qaeda Chief: I Slit Their Throats

New Al Qaeda Chief: I Slit Their Throats
Sick claim as bodies of kidnapped troops found

Mark Ellis / London Mirror | June 21 2006

THE new head of al-Qaeda in Iraq personally slit the throats of two US soldiers whose bodies were found near Baghdad, it was claimed last night.

A statement on the internet gloated that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir had "implemented" sentence on the "two captive crusader parasites".

And it is feared al-Qaeda has scored a propaganda coup by carrying out the atrocity despite a huge US-led hunt for privates Thomas Lowell Tucker, 25, and Kristian Menchaca, 23.

More than 8,000 Iraqi and US troops, backed by fighter and spotter planes, searched for the soldiers who were snatched on Friday from a checkpoint in Yusifiya, 12 miles south of Baghdad.

The pair, both from the 101st Airborne Division, were found dead nearby on Monday. A top Iraqi official said their bodies bore signs of "barbaric" torture.

Last night Kristian Menchaca's uncle Ken MacKenzie lashed out at the US government saying it had not done enough to bring them to safety.

He told NBC TV: "Because the government did not have a plan in place, my nephew has paid for it with his life." Another US soldier, David Babineau, 25, was also killed in the attack.

US military spokesman in Iraq, Major General William Caldwell, said: "We have recovered what we believe are the remains of our two missing soldiers.

They will be taken to the United States for verification."

The killers' statement, supposedly from the al-Qaeda-led Mujahideen Shura Council – an umbrella body of Sunni militant groups – could not be authenticated.

Posted on a web forum used by Islamists, it said: "We bring good tidings to the nation of Islam from the battlefields. O my nation: rejoice that the ruling of God… against the two captive crusader parasites has been carried out by having their throats slit.

"God Almighty has graced the leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajir… with implementation of the sentence." Ex-boss of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a US air strike on 7 June.

Al-Zarqawi earned the nickname "the slaughtering sheikh" and is thought to have killed two Americans himself as well as Liverpool engineer Ken Bigley.

Violence has continued despite Zarqawi's death and a security clampdown involving 40,000 troops in Baghdad.

A car bomb killed several people in a Baghdad market and in Basra a suicide bomber struck as elderly people gathered to collect their pensions.

One woman was killed but the bomber survived and was taken to hospital. Meanwhile, a senior commander warned yesterday that Basra faces rising violence. Lt Gen Nick Houghton said conditions in the city were "worrying" with politics "conducted through violent means on the streets".

He told MPs on the Commons Defence Committee a five-month delay in forming a new Iraqi government had led to a power struggle between Shia factions.

Shadow defence secretary Dr Liam Fox said: "It would be worrying if the situation was to deteriorate further as it would adversely affect our chances of leaving Iraq in a reasonable time."

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