BAGHDAD — Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed in a new audio tape Friday to be winning the war faster than expected in Iraq and said it had mobilized 12,000 fighters who had “vowed to die for God’s sake.”
The U.S. military, meanwhile, reported that three U.S. soldiers and a U.S. Marine were killed Thursday in Iraq, the U.S. military said, bringing the number of Americans who have died in the country so far this month to 25. At least 105 U.S. forces died in October, the fourth highest monthly toll of the war.
On the audio tape made available on militant Web sites, the al-Qaida in Iraq leader also welcomed the Republican electoral defeat that led to the departure of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He added that the group’s fighters would not rest until they had blown up the White House.
“The al-Qaida army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God’s sake,” a man who identified himself as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir said.
Al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also urged the U.S. to stay in Iraq so his group would have more opportunities to kill American troops. “We haven’t had enough of your blood yet,” he told the U.S.