DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq”s al Qaeda said on Friday its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in good health and was back leading operations in Iraq after being wounded, according to a statement posted on the Internet.
"Our Sheikh is in good health and is running the jihad (holy war) himself and has been overseeing the details of operations up to the time this statement was prepared," a group spokesman said in a posting issued on Islamist Web sites.
Conflicting statements about the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq had appeared on the Internet recently after the militant group announced on Tuesday that Zarqawi had been wounded.
Al Qaeda said in its latest statement that there were no problems within the network, one of the leaders of an insurgency against U.S. forces and the Iraqi government.
"Our Sheikh has over the past two years established a cohesive leadership and has a deputy and advisers," it said. "Al Qaeda Organization in Iraq is well and cohesive."
On Thursday, an Internet statement in the name of al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq said the group had named a deputy to fill in for Zarqawi, but a later statement attributed to the group spokesman swiftly denied it.
Iraq”s interior minister said on Thursday he had confirmation that Zarqawi had been wounded, but the country”s prime minister later said there was no firm news.
Washington has offered a $25 million bounty for Zarqawi, its top foe in Iraq.