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Photos believed to show al-Zarqawi

Images seized several weeks ago, military sources say


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This man is believed to be terror group leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
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(CNN) -- CNN has obtained pictures believed to show America's most-wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose network carries out frequent attacks against Iraqi and U.S. civilians, and multinational troops.

Military sources said Sunday that the images were found in a video camera captured during a raid in Iraq several weeks ago.

Sources told CNN the man in the photos is indeed al-Zarqawi.

The United States has placed a $25 million bounty on Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi's head. He is wanted for fueling the insurgency in Iraq and in connection with the beheadings of several Western hostages, and Iraqi and other civilians.

Islamist Web sites have posted at least two videos said to show his followers publicly executing men they believe are associated with the U.S.-led occupation.

Intelligence officials said this week that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has enlisted the help of al-Zarqawi to plan new attacks inside the United States.

"He's been involved in masterminding a lot of the insurgents' efforts in Iraq," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We know that he is connected directly to bin Laden. We know that he's connected to terrorist attacks all over the world."

Changed group name

Al-Zarqawi's group is believed to be responsible for car bombings and beheadings throughout Iraq. Last year, he declared his allegiance to al Qaeda and changed the name of his group from Unification and Jihad to al Qaeda in Iraq.

An audiotape message attributed to al-Zarqawi called the January 30 election for Iraq's National Assembly and provincial councils a "big American lie."

The audiotape was posted on an Islamist Web site in January. In it, the man called Iraq's interim government a tool used by "Americans to promote this lie that is called democracy ... You have to be careful of the enemy's plots that involve applying democracy in your country and confront these plots."

His group is believed to have carried out attacks during the election.

In the statement, he declared that democracy's principles of majority rule and pluralism "allow infidelity and wrong practices to spread."

Photos show relaxed situation

It is unclear how recently the photos were taken, but they appear to have been taken at the same time and place.

In the pictures, the man believed to be al-Zarqawi is bearded and well-trimmed, and he appears relaxed.

It looks as if he is sitting against a wall. He is wearing a dark shirt or turtleneck.

In the pictures he is seen smiling, looking straight ahead or chatting with unknown people.


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