Iraq's insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) purportedly made an audio address to Usama bin Laden (search) on Monday to assure the Al Qaeda leader that he was in good health after being wounded in a fire fight with U.S. troops.
There was no way to confirm that the voice was that of Jordanian-born terror leader al-Zarqawi. However, the recording was carried by a Web site frequently used by militant Islamic groups, and the voice sounded similar to that previously attributed to al-Zarqawi.
"I am sure you have heard through the media that I was wounded and treated in a Ramadi hospital. I would like to assure you and the Muslim nation that these were pure allegations. It was a light wound, thank God. We are back fighting them in the land of the two rivers."
The speaker addressed the message as "a letter from a soldier on the firing line to his commander."
The speaker purporting to be al-Zarqawi addressed bin Laden as his "emir," or commander, asked bin Laden for guidance on conducting the insurgency. He said he sent bin Laden a war plan and asked for comments or approval.
Al-Zarqawi also claimed that his insurgent followers had won this month's bloody battle against U.S. troops at the town of Qaim near the Syrian border.
"It was one of the greatest battles of Islam," the speaker said. "We would like to assure you that we are continuing on the path of jihad, we are committed to our pledge. We will either win or die trying."
The U.S. military said it killed 125 militants during its weeklong offensive against al-Zarqawi's fighters. Nine U.S. Marines were killed and 40 injured during the operation, one of the largest American campaigns since militants were driven from Fallujah six months ago. The number of civilian casualties was not immediately known.
The recording posted Monday followed previous Internet postings saying the Jordanian was in good health and had returned to lead insurgent attacks in Iraq after being wounded.
On May 24, a statement allegedly by al-Zarqawi's group said al-Zarqawi had been injured, without saying how or when. A U.S. official said the injury claim could be purposely misleading.
In October 2004, an Internet statement said al-Zarqawi's group declared allegiance to Al Qaeda (search) and "father of all fighters" or bin Laden. Known then as Tawhid and Jihad — Arabic for "monotheism and holy war," the group later changed its name to Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Bin Laden endorsed al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq in an audiotape in December.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for many of the bloodiest bombings and other attacks against U.S. troops and their Iraqi allies.