Audio recording purportedly by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi urges fighters to hang on

Friday, November 12th 2004, 8:42 am
By: News On 6

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An audiotape purportedly made by al-Qaida-linked terror suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi encouraged his fighters in Fallujah and said victory was near.

The tape surfaced Friday on an Internet site known as a clearinghouse for militant Muslim comment. Its authenticity could not be confirmed.

``As for you heroes of Islam in Fallujah, praise for your Jihad, praise for your nation, praise for your religion. (Have) one hour's patience, and then you will see the results,'' the speaker said after identifying himself as al-Zarqawi.

Signs of ``victory are on the horizon,'' the speaker said, adding a challenge to ``the Americans to show the truth of what goes on on the battleground.''

The voice sounds like that on earlier tapes attributed to al-Zarqawi.

The statement appeared as American and Iraqi soldiers pushed deeper into the southern reaches of Fallujah, cornering militants being backed into smaller pockets of the city, on the fourth day of an offensive launched in part to clear out militants linked to the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi.

His followers have beheaded at least six hostages: three Americans, a Briton, a Japanese and a South Korean. The United States has offered a $25 million reward for al-Zarqawi's capture or killing _ the same amount as for Osama bin Laden.

The link to the five-minute tape was posted by an individual who signs himself Abu Maysarah al-Iraqi, known as the media coordinator of al-Zarqawi's group, al-Qaida of Jihad in Iraq.