CAIRO, Egypt, (AP) – The new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq said in an audio message posted on a Web site Thursday that more than 4,000 foreign insurgent fighters have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. It was believed to be the first major statement from insurgents in Iraq about their losses.
“The blood has been spilled in Iraq of more than 4,000 foreigners who came to fight,” said the man, who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri — the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. The voice could not be independently identified.
The Arabic word he used indicated he was speaking about foreigners who joined the insurgency in Iraq, not coalition troops.
Al-Masri is believed to have succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who died in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad in June.