DUBAI,(Reuters) – A man who said he was a jihad leader in Iraq called on al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden to disown Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the recently appointed leader of the group in Iraq, Al Arabiya television reported on Friday.
The Dubai-based channel aired a video for Abu Osama al-Mujahid in which he complained to bin Laden that Iraq’s al Qaeda under the leadership of Masri had committed “unjustified violations” such as the killing of prominent sheikhs in Iraq.
“Just because you don’t know the men in Iraq is not a reason for you to choose anyone who makes himself visible,” said the man in the grainy video, the audio of which was electronically altered. His face was covered and he appeared to be standing in a room.
“We urge that the (leadership) be delegated to an Iraqi just as it has been delegated to an Afghan in Afghanistan,” he said, referring to Afghan Mullah Mohammad Omar’s leadership of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
“We pray to God that you receive our message and that some of those surrounding you don’t hide it from you, so that you can make the appropriate decision and cancel the pledge of allegiance in Iraq. We are your sons and won’t fail in leading the war and jihad.”
Masri, an Egyptian who is also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, assumed the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq after Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in June.
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Masri had been killed in a U.S. airstrike on the Iraqi town of Haditha. These were denied by the U.S. military.
Since Zarqawi’s killing, Iraqi authorities have announced other successes against militants and said mounting intelligence was severely disrupting their cells.