BBC Monitoring, translating a report from Al-Sharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, claims that sources close to the Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad group of Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi say that the death of Umar Yusuf Jum'ah was a "strong blow" to Al-Zarqawi's group. Yusuf Jum'ah, also known as Abu-Anas al-Shami, was killed in Baghdad on September 17 by an American rocket.
According to the report:
- Abu-Anas al-Shami was born in Amman in 1969.
- His family were Palestinians from the area of Tulkarm, on the West Bank.
- He graduated in 1990 from the Islamic University in Mecca with a specialization in the teaching of Islamic law (Shari'ah).
- According to the head of the Koran and Sunnah Society, Al-Shami resigned from the Society in 2002, just one month after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
- A few months later, al-Shami moved to Iraq.
- Al-Zarqawi was urgently in need of a person, like Al-Shami, broadly versed in Shari'ah.
- Al-Shami took over the position of Shari'ah mufti of the Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad group, second only to Al-Zarqawi (Ahmad al-Khalayiyah).
- Al-Shami was not one of the nine field commanders, responsible for separate combat areas.
- The sources revealed that Jordanian security agencies did not know of Abu-Anas al-Shami and he was not wanted by the Jordanians.
- Umar Yusuf Jum'ah's name surfaced during the trial of Bilal Mansur Mahmud al-Hiyari.
- The Jordanian State Security Court began the trial of Al-Hiyari at the beginning of September 2004, accusing him of conspiring to carry out terrorist activities and of collecting contributions for Al-Qa'idah.
- The charge sheet said that Umar Yusuf Jum'ah had proposed to Al-Hiyari that he travel to Iraq in March 2003 to join in the fighting against the US forces.
- Jordanian security agencies had no other security records on Al-Shami.
- The lack of a full record on Al-Shami was troubling inasmuch as he had had a close relationship with Isam al-Barqawi, who is also known as Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the leader of the Bay'at al-Imam group.
- Al-Maqdisi is presently in the custody of the Jordanian State Security Court.
- The relative anonymity of al-Shami is taken to show that most of the members of "Al-Zarqawi's Army" have not been uncovered by U.S. security agencies and are operating deeply underground.
- According to former Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yasin Ramadan the Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad group has a membership of more than 5000 Arab volunteers in Iraq.
Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, in Arabic 24 Sep 04
Labels: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abu-Anas Al-Shami, Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad Group, Iraq