UNITED NATIONS – A U.N. committee announced Tuesday that it has put the network of alleged terror mastermind Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi (search) on its list of groups subject to U.N. sanctions.
The Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Al Qaeda (search) and the Taliban said it had added al-Zarqawi's network, Jama'at al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad — known as Tawhid and Jihad (search) — to the list on Monday. It said the group is also known as the Monotheism and Jihad Group.
The network, Iraq's most feared militant group, has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on American troops, Iraqi security personnel and the kidnapping and beheading of several foreigners including American engineers Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley and British engineer Kenneth Bigley.
The group apparently has changed its name according to an Internet statement released Tuesday, two days after it announced its merger with Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization.
The statement under the purported new name, Al Qaeda of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers, could not be independently verified. It claimed responsibility for an attack on a U.S. military convoy west of the Iraqi city of Fallujah the same day.
The sanctions committee could add the new name as another alias, if requested by a member state.
The Security Council shifted sanctions from the government of Afghanistan to Al Qaeda and remnants of the Taliban in January 2002, after a U.S.-led force ousted the Taliban.
The sanctions require all countries to freeze assets and impose an arms embargo and travel ban on the 316 individuals and entities on a U.N. sanctions list for links to the two groups.
Tawhid and Jihad has declared its allegiance to bin Laden, saying it had agreed with Al Qaeda over strategy and the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam." The declaration, which could not be independently verified, appeared Sunday on a Web site often used as a clearinghouse for statements by militant groups.
Al-Zarqawi has a $25 million American bounty on his head and was indicted Sunday in Jordan with 11 others on charges including conspiring to commit terrorism, possessing and manufacturing explosives, and affiliation with a banned group.
Jordanian authorities said al-Zarqawi had planned for suicide bombers to blow up two vehicles filled with chemicals, creating a poisonous cloud that could have killed thousands.