BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – A recording purportedly made by the mastermind of bombings and beheadings in Iraq threatened to assassinate Iraq's interim prime minister and fight the Americans "until Islamic rule is back on Earth."
The audio, found today on an Islamic Web site, is supposedly from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the same Jordanian-born terrorist whose group claimed responsibility for the beheading of American hostage Nicholas Berg and Kim Sun-il, a South Korean whose decapitated body was found Tuesday evening between Baghdad and Fallujah.
South Koreans reacted with sorrow and anger to Kim's beheading today, with President Roh Moo-hyun calling it a "crime against humanity."
After the slaying, U.S.
forces launched an airstrike on what the Americans said was an al-Zarqawi hideout in Fallujah.
Three people were killed and nine wounded, said Dr.
Loai Ali Zeidan at Fallujah Hospital.
It was the second U.S.
airstrike on Fallujah since Saturday.
Kim's body was found two days after he appeared on a videotape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, pleading "I don't want to die" and begging his government to pull its soldiers out of Iraq.
South Korea refused and said it would go ahead with plans to send another 3,000 troops here by August.
In the audiotape, the speaker thought to be al-Zarqawi told Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, that "we will continue the game with you until the end." The speaker said "we will not get bored" until "we make you drink from the same glass" as Izzadine Saleem, the Iraqi governing Council president killed last month in a car-bombing claimed at al-Zarqawi's group.
An official with Allawi's office dismissed the threat, saying it would not derail the transfer of sovereignty next week.
A roadside bomb exploded near Baghdad's Kindi Hospital today, killing a policeman, a mother and her child, police said.
In Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 60 miles west of Baghdad, gunmen killed two policemen and wounded a third in a drive-by shooting, witnesses said.
Two American soldiers were killed Tuesday and another was wounded in an attack on a convoy near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.
The beheading of Kim, 33, who worked for a South Korean company providing supplies to U.S.
forces, prompted the Seoul government to order all non-essential civilians to leave Iraq as soon as possible.