- Abu Hamzah al Muhajir, previous kunyah (nickname, warrior name) Abu Ayyub al Misri, associate of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and his successor as Amir of Al Qa'idah in Iraq.Thus he became Minister of War and later on Minister of War/Prime Minister of the Islamic State of Iraq. He was killed on April 17th 2010 near Tikrît together with the state's TM Amir Abu 'Umar al Baghdadi.
Furqan which is the official media organisation of the state TM released a new video on September 6th, named Invasion of the Prisoners 2 (غـــزوة الأسيــــر2).
I plan to post an overview and thoughts on the Invasion of the Prisoner attacks soon but I want to go ahead and give my opinion on about 10 seconds of the video (28:30 onwards). Shown is a meeting of three persons in a closed room. One of them is Abu Hamzah. He is greeted by one of the other men and it looks like he is introduced to the third man. A forth person briefly gets in the way of the cameraman. Abu Hamzah hugs the third man as in greeting him goodbye.
|Clip of Abu Hamzah al Muhajir from the recent Furqan release (28:30), notice the forth person appearing in the 2nd screen|
This made the co-blogger at Polinews-International suspect that he may have been a suicide bomber. I disagree. This looks like a leadership coming together. How so?
Well the second man, the one that is sitting next to Abu Hamzah is (according to me) none other than Abu J'afar al Maqdissi who was according to jihadi internet postings (which I did not save at that time) the personal bodyguard of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and was killed with him and 4 other bodyguards in the US bombing on their safe house near B'aqûbah on June 7th 2006.
A video was unofficially released after Abu J'afar's death showing him giving a speech and singing. He is identified as Abu J'afar.
|Abu J'afar al Maqdissi - left in the recent Furqan release (not named), right in an unofficial video (named)|
So the 10 seconds clip was made at a time when Abu Hamzah was not yet AQI Amir. I consider it legitimate to believe that Abu Mus'ab's bodyguard is not in that house without his boss. And there is another indication that this is a leadership meeting.
Back in early 2005 the Americans nearly captured Abu Mus'ab, he got out of the car but his driver and a laptop were taken. On the laptop were to be found a number of pictures, the first unveiled pictures of Abu Mus'ab out of Iraq.
CNN published them exclusively but unfortunately they have taken the gallery down but the co-blogger at Diggers Realm has some of them up. (If you have saved all the pictures from this gallery please send them over!) See below.
|CNN exclusive: Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi on a captured photo (2005)|
After Abu Mus'ab's death and a while into Abu Hamzah's reign as commander a video appeared showing a gathering of commanders.
Shown are Abu Hamzah, Abu Mus'ab, Abu J'afar and one other man (rumours on jihadi internet forums said that Abu 'Umar al Kurdi and Abu Khattab al Falluji ('Umar Hadid) were there but I don't know if it is one of them. Both these men were AQ bigshots then.) relaxing, singing and cracking jokes.
The YouTube video is cut and one can't see the man who is pictured on the CNN exclusive above but there may exist a version which is not as cut as this one.
|From left: Abu Hamzah al Muhajir (named Abu Ayyub al Misri), Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and Abu J'afar al Maqdissi (unnamed) in an unoffical video found on the internet|
The room that is shown looks similar to the one in the recent release. Especially the door is an eye catcher. The positioning of Abu Hamzah and Abu J'afar next to the door fits. It may show the same meeting some hours apart, the clip from the new release being shot at the arrival or departure of the attendants. While the CNN pictures and the unofficial video show the closing time karaoke of the AQI leadership.
|Abu Hamzah and Abu J'afar: left in the recent Furqan release, right in an unoffical video found on the internet - this maybe the same room but from different viewing directions|
Even if the two videos show different meetings the appearance of Abu J'afar in the new Furqan release is in my eyes enough indication of the presence of Abu Mus'ab. And I just don't think that suicide bombers are invited to such big shot meetings. Besides not only suicide bombers get hugged :-P
|Barack H. Obama hugs George W. Bush at his inauguration - picture source: The Daily Post|