Amidst the announcement by al-Qaeda in Iraq of the appointment of its new emir, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, and questioning of members of the jihadist Internet community and intelligence officials alike as to his identity and background, the online Palestinian news publication, Donia al-Watan, provided an article about these questions. The article was then posted to a password-protected al-Qaeda-affiliated forum yesterday, June 13, 2006. Citing an story from al-Arabiya of opinion from Montaser al-Zayat, the lawyer of Jama?at Islamiya in Egypt, and an ?Iraqi expert? from the organization, the article concludes that Zarqawi?s successor is an al-Qaeda intelligence official and recruiter, who traveled the Middle East and North African countries.
Al-Zayat, in particular, muses that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir is of the ?middle generation? of Arab fighters who entered Iraq after the war started, and considering that the groups close to Zarqawi are Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis, and Yemenis, it is probably that he is of one of them and possibly a field commander. The source within Jama?at Islamiya opines that the new emir is a ?ghost,? with no picture or identity. He is effusive in his speculation, opining that Abu Hamza is near forty years of age, has lived in Sudan and Pakistan, and traveled to Algeria and other North African countries to recruit young men for al-Qaeda. Further, he states of his role in Iraq: ?[Abu Hamza] was receiving the volunteers and was guiding them and joining them with the orientation seminars like spiritual lectures. Everyone in al-Qaeda has his own work. For example you find who receives the volunteer and another one takes him to his living quarters and another one takes him to the training place.?
A translation of the message is provided to our Intel Service members.