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Iraq Transition

Al Qaeda in Iraq vows to 'shake the enemy'

U.S., Iraqi officials call threats empty, expected

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The U.S. military on Thursday displayed a photo of the body of al-Zarqawi.

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(CNN) -- In a statement posted on an Islamist Web site on Sunday, al Qaeda in Iraq threatened "large-scale operations that will shake the enemy and rob them of sleep."

Iraqi and U.S. officials, however, dismissed the threats as "empty" and "expected" in the wake of the terrorist's death.

"It's a propaganda ploy," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraqi national security adviser, on CNN's "Late Edition." "They're trying to make up for the huge loss, and the disorientation they are suffering from because there is a huge vacuum of power now within al Qaeda."

The Web site statement said, "The mujahedeen Shura Council and al Qaeda in Mesopotamia [Iraq] held a meeting right after the killing of the commander-in-chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, may God bless his soul."

In that meeting, leaders decided to continue their jihad, they said.

They also said that al-Zarqawi's death should not affect their operations.

Al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike Wednesday. (Full story)

In addition, the group said it renewed its allegiance to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, "may God protect him, and he will be pleased with the actions of his soldiers in Iraq, God willing."

The statement did not name a successor to al-Zarqawi.

Gen. George Casey, the highest-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, said on "Fox News Sunday" the group's actions are expected because they are hurt badly.

"I expect them to say what they said. I expect them to try to do what they said, but I think what you're going to see is an enhanced security operation here announced by the prime minister in Baghdad over the course of the coming week and a tightening of security in the Baghdad area," Casey said.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the Web statement, but it was posted on a Web site which previously has carried messages from the group.

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