A purported audio tape by the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq said outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld quit to flee the Iraqi battlefield. Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, said in the recording published on the Internet that the group has 12,000 armed fighters and 10,000 others waiting to be equipped to fight American forces in Iraq.
"The al-Qaeda army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God's sake" said al-Muhajir.
"I swear by God we shall not rest from jihad until we ... blow up the filthiest house known as the White House," he said. The Democrats' win at Tuesday's Congressional elections were a step in the right direction, the speaker said.
"I tell the lame duck (U.S. administration) do not rush to escape as did your defense minister ... stay on the battleground," the speaker said. "The American people have taken a step in the right path to come out of their predicament ... they voted for a level of reason."
"The (U.S.) enemy is now wobbly. Today they are loading their gear to flee," the speaker added.
The speaker slammed Bush as "the most stupid leader that America, the country of slaves and narcotics, has ever known". He said Bush's policies had allowed Iran to spread its influence in Afghanistan and Iraq after Washington toppled their Sunni rulers, and expanded Iran's reach into Syria and Lebanon.