Who is Who: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Views on BG | July 10, 2004, Saturday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Who is Who: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Photo by AFP

His real name is Fadel al-Khalayleh, of Bedouin stock.

His tribe, the Beni Hassan, straddles many borders in the modern Middle East.

Zarqawi is said to have a rivalry with Bin Laden, both of whom gained prominence in the "jihad" against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

After that Zarqawi spent several years in Jordan and was detained on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the monarchy and establish an Islamic caliphate.

After his release, he fled the country.

The next stop on his itinerary was his old stamping ground - Afghanistan.

He is believed to have set up a training camp in the western city of Herat, near the border with Iran, and to have renewed his acquaintance with al-Qaeda.

He is believed to have fled to Iraq in 2001 after losing a leg in a US missile strike on his Afghan base.

In 2003, he was named as the brains behind a series of lethal bombings - from Casablanca in Morocco to Istanbul in Turkey.

Zarqawi is also said to have been involved in the beheading of an American contractor, Nick Berg, shown on a video released on 11 May.

A group linked to Mr Zarqawi is suspected of carrying out a wave of attacks in late June that killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more in attacks in five Iraqi cities.

The US is now offering a USD 25 M reward for the capture of Zarqawi, the "wild card" in its pack of wanted men.
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