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'Zarqawi' warns of long Iraq fight
January 21, 2005
One of the leaders of the insurgency in Iraq has reportedly told his followers to expect their fight against US-led forces to continue for years.

An audio tape apparently made by the militant leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, called for patience on the battlefield.

In the tape, the man identified as Zarqawi denounces Shia Muslims for fighting alongside US troops in Iraq.

He accuses Shias of attacking Sunni Muslims in Falluja "with the blessing" of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

"They broke into the safe houses of God," he says. "They defiled them and they hung the photos of their Satan, al-Sistani, on the walls and they spitefully wrote: 'Today, your land; tomorrow it will be your honour'."

The US has offered a $25m (13m) reward for Zarqawi, whose group is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

The tape's release coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid, and with the inauguration of US President George W Bush for a second term in office.


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