Al Qaida in Iraq today claimed in a new audio tape to have mobilised 12,000 fighters in the war-torn country, as it labelled George Bush "the most stupid president'" in US history.
"The al Qaida army has 12,000 fighters in Iraq, and they have vowed to die for God's sake" said Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, in an audio tape made available on militant websites.
Also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, al-Muhajir became the leader of al Qaida in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed by the US military in June.
Though the voice on the tape identified itself as al-masri, there were no means to independently verify this.
Describing US President George Bush as "the most stupid president" in US history, the al Qaida leader reached out to the Muslim world and said his group was winning faster than expected in Iraq.
The US president's policy had enabled the militant group to achieve their goal of fighting more Americans, said the al Qaida leader.
"We call the lame duck (Bush) not to hurry up in escaping the same way the defense minister did," he said, referring to the removal of Donald Rumsfeld as Defence Secretary following the Democrats' victory in Midterm elections.
"They are getting ready to leave, because they are no longer capable of staying," the al Qaida leader said.
"Remain steadfast in the battlefield you coward," was his message to the US President.