On tape, bin Laden mourns al-Zarqawi's death

From: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/06/29/binladen.tape/index.html

Al Qaeda leader calls on Bush to return body of 'great knight'

Friday, June 30, 2006 Posted: 0744 GMT (1544 HKT)

(CNN) -- Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden mourns the death of his top lieutenant in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in an audiotape posted Friday on an Islamist Web site.

CNN could not verify the authenticity of the tape, which the network began translating shortly after it was posted.

The audiotape was layered over a split-screen image featuring a still photo of bin Laden on one side and a video of the al-Zarqawi on the other. The tape is more than 19 minutes long.

Al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed June 7 in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad.

On the tape, bin Laden addresses President Bush directly and demands that the U.S. return al-Zarqawi's body to his family in Jordan.

"I say to Bush, you should deliver the body to his family, and don't be too happy. Our flag hasn't fallen. Thanks to God, it has passed from one lion to another lion in Islam," bin Laden says.

"You have prevented Abu Musab from entering his homeland alive. Don't stand in his way now."

Bin Laden continues: "Our dear Muslim nation, we were deeply saddened by the passing of our loved ones, Abu Musab and his companions. But we were very happy that their souls have flooded these great battles as they were defending the Islamic law."

On the tape, bin Laden speaks of al-Zarqawi with reverence, although some analysts have said the two did not see eye to eye. Bin Laden even calls al-Zarqawi by his real name, Hamed Khalayeh -- a sign of respect.

Al-Zarqawi was "one of our greatest knights and one of our best emirs," bin Laden says. "We were very happy to find in him a symbol and role model for our future generations."

On Wednesday the Web site posted a note saying it was expecting a message from bin Laden.

"Coming Soon, Osama Bin Laden new message, offering condolences of the martyr of the [Islamic] nation and the emir of the martyrs, Abu Musab Zarqawi, may God rest his soul," reported the Web site. It often posts messages, statements and videos from al Qaeda.

The Web site posted a nearly identical notification June 22 on behalf of al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The following day, a videotape was aired on the Arab station Al-Jazeera in which al-Zawahiri said he was grieving over the death of al-Zarqawi.

On the tape, al-Zawahiri calls al-Zarqawi a hero and martyr and threatens retribution for his death.

"There isn't a single person who'll be killed that we won't get vengeance for, God willing," he said.