''Zarqawi'' justifies Berg beheading in new audiotape as brother-in-law reportedly detained in Jordan
The men who beheaded American Nicholas Berg in Iraq said they had rejected ransom offers and killed him to avenge Muslims who suffered at the hands of American-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new audio tape.
The 1-hour recording, which was first posted on Islamic Web sites Tuesday, carried a voice purporting to be that of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. His Tawhid and Jihad Movement has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on American-led occupation troops.
The voice said there had been attempts - including offers of ransom - to save Berg's life, but the speaker did not identify who was behind the rescue bids.
"They were ready to give us whatever sums of money we asked ... to save this infidel's life, but despite our desperate need of money to fund our jihad, we preferred to take revenge for our sisters and our nation," the voice said.
Furthermore, the speaker attacked Muslim clerics, in particular top Iraqi Sunni cleric Harith al-Dari, for criticizing Berg's killing rather than supporting "Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Indonesia" and "stopping the rape of our Muslim sisters in Abu Ghraib prison."
"Haven't you heard them (the clerics) condemning the beheading of the American Berg," the voice on the tape said. "They condemned (the killing) because they were afraid of fighting the infidels (Americans)."
Muslim religious leaders and Arab officials condemned Berg's beheading as un-Islamic, while many Islamists through Islamic Web sites have said decapitating foreigners was justified.
In the meantime, Jordanian authorities have reportedly arrested a brother-in-law of suspected Al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, following his appearance in a documentary on Al Jazeera television, according to family sources.
Saleh al-Hani, 38, was arrested at his home in Zarqa, north-east of Amman, by plainclothes policemen who gave no explanation for his arrest, sources told AFP news agency.
Hani, who is married to one of Zarqawi's sisters, was seized just days after he participated in a program aired on the Doha-based Arab satellite news channel, the sources said.
A journalist, Hani contributed articles to Al-Jihad, a magazine published in Afghanistan where he had first met Zarqawi before marrying one of his six sisters, Hani told Al Jazeera.
Television correspondent Yasser Abu Hlale said Hani's remarks in the program were biographical and not of a political nature.
The program also aired the first ever video pictures of Zarqawi.
Zarqawi's first wife and their four children live in Jordan, where his family also consists of two brothers. His mother died in March. He spent around eight years in jail in his native Jordan before being released under a royal amnesty in 1999. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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