Monday, February 28, 2005 - Officials: Bin Laden Urges Zarqawi to Hit U.S. - U.S. & World - Officials: Bin Laden Urges Zarqawi to Hit U.S.

WASHINGTON — Recent communications between Usama bin Laden (search) and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) indicated that bin Laden has "encouraged Zarqawi and his group to focus on attacks inside the United State, multiple U.S. officials told FOX News on Monday.

The sources would not get into detail about how the communication was made or how it was intercepted by the United States and they pointed out that there is nothing specific in the message — such as maps, specific cities, or buildings — just a message encouraging a "focus" on attacks inside U.S. borders.

Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda (search) in Iraq and believed to be the inspiration of the ongoing bombings, beheadings and attacks on Iraqi and American forces, pledged his alliance to bin Laden last year and changed the name of his group in Iraq to reflect his tie to Al Qaeda. Iraqi officials said they expect to take Zarqawi soon; they recently nabbed a key associate and the driver of Jordanian-born terror leader.

U.S. officials say Zarqawi has "his hands full" trying to stay out of U.S. or Iraqi custody in Iraq and they question whether Zarqawi's group would have the ability to pull off an attack inside America. Also, officials are wondering aloud what this means about Al Qaeda and whether it means the group is reaching out to its central leader because they are under significant pressure.

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