Al-Qaida threatens new attacks in wake of Zargawi’s death

Al-Qaida in Iraq vowed Sunday to carry out “major attacks,” insisting in a Web statement that it was still powerful after the death of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The statement did not name a successor to al-Zarqawi, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike last week. But it said the group’s leadership “renews its allegiance” to Osama bin Laden.

It vowed “to prepare major attacks that will shake the enemy like an earthquake and rattle them out of sleep.”

The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on an Islamic militant Web forum where the group has posted statements in the past.

The statement was issued in the name of al-Qaida in Iraq but was put out by the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of five insurgent groups that al-Zarqawi helped create.

The statement said al-Qaida in Iraq’s leadership met after al-Zarqawi’s death and “agreed to continue jihad (holy war) and not be affected by his martyrdom.”

“The organization has strengthened its back, regained its footing and has been renewed from fresh blood,” it said, listing previous prominent members who had been killed without setting back the group’s attacks.

“For those who were waging holy war for the sake of al-Zarqawi, al-Zarqawi is dead. But for those who were fighting for the sake of God, God is alive and eternal,” it said.

The phrase echoed the words used by the Prophet Muhammad’s successor, Abu Bakr, after the prophet’s death in the 7th century to urge Muslims to continue spreading Islam