Nel mio elenco di jihadisti rimorti non avevo messo Abu Mu’sab al-Zarqawi.
Anche lui è rimorto, ri-ferito, ri-catturato.
Reports of his death, detention and injuries
Claims of harm to Zarqawi changed over time. Early in 2002, there were unverified reports from Afghan Northern Alliance members that Zarqawi had been killed by a missile attack in Afghanistan. Many news sources repeated the claim. Later, Kurdish groups claimed that Zarqawi had not died in the missile strike, but had been severely injured, and went to Baghdad in 2002 to have his leg amputated. On October 7, 2002, the day before Congress voted to give President George W. Bush authorization to invade Iraq, Bush gave a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, that repeated as fact the claim that he had sought medical treatment in Baghdad. This was one of several of President Bush’s examples of ways Saddam Hussein had aided, funded, and harbored al-Qaeda. Powell repeated this claim in his February 2003 speech to the UN, urging a resolution for war, and it soon became “common knowledge” that Zarqawi had a prosthetic leg.
In 2004, Newsweek reported that some “senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad” had come to believe that he still had his original legs. Knight Ridder later reported that the leg amputation was something “officials now acknowledge was incorrect.”
When the video of the Berg beheading was released in 2004, credence was given to the claim that Zarqawi was alive and active. The man identified as Zarqawi in the video did not appear to have a prosthetic leg. Videos of Zarqawi aired in 2006 that clearly showed him with both legs intact. When Zarqawi’s body was autopsied, “X-rays also showed a fracture of his right lower leg.”
In March 2004, an insurgent group in Iraq issued a statement saying that Zarqawi had been killed in April 2003. The statement said that he was unable to escape the missile attack because of his prosthetic leg. His followers claimed he was killed in a U.S. bombing raid in the north of Iraq. The claim that Zarqawi had been killed in northern Iraq “at the beginning of the war,” and that subsequent use of his name was a useful myth, was repeated in September 2005 by Sheikh Jawad Al-Khalessi, a Shiite imam.
On May 24, 2005, it was reported on an Islamic website that a deputy would take command of Al-Qaeda while Zarqawi recovered from injuries sustained in an attack. Later that week the Iraqi government confirmed that Zarqawi had been wounded by U.S. forces, although the battalion did not realize it at the time. The extent of his injuries is not known, although some radical Islamic websites called for prayers for his health. There are reports that a local hospital treated a man, suspected to be Zarqawi, with severe injuries. He was also said to have subsequently left Iraq for a neighbouring country, accompanied by two physicians. However, later that week the radical Islamic website retracted its report about his injuries and claimed that he was in fine health and was running the jihad operation.
In a September 16, 2005 article published by Le Monde, Sheikh Jawad Al-Kalesi claimed that al-Zarqawi was killed in the Kurdish northern region of Iraq at the beginning of the U.S.-led war on the country as he was meeting with members of the Ansar al-Islam group affiliated to al-Qaeda. Al-Kalesi also claimed “His family in Jordan even held a ceremony after his death.” He also claimed that “Zarqawi has been used as a ploy by the United States, as an excuse to continue the occupation” and saying, “It was a pretext so they don’t leave Iraq.”
On November 20, 2005, some news sources reported that Zarqawi may have been killed in a coalition assault on a house in Mosul; five of those in the house were killed in the assault while the other three died through using ‘suicide belts‘ of explosives. United States and British soldiers searched the remains, with U.S. forces using DNA samples to identify the dead. However, none of those remains belonged to him.
According to a CNN report dated December 15, 2005, al-Zarqawi was captured by Iraqi forces sometime during 2004 and later released because his captors did not realize who he was. This claim was made by a Saudi suicide bomber, Ahmed Abdullah al-Shaiyah, who survived a failed suicide attempt to blow up the Jordanian mission in Baghdad in December. “Do you know what has happened to Zarqawi and where he is?” an Iraqi investigator asked Mr. Shaiyah. He answered, “I don’t know, but I heard from some of my mujahadeen brothers that Iraqi police had captured Zarqawi in Fallujah.” Mr. Shaiyah says he then heard that the police let the terrorist go because they had failed to recognize him. U.S. officials called the report “plausible” but refused to confirm it.