An audio recording attributed to Iraq's al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi says taking the lives of other Muslims is permitted for the sake of holy war. The recording, whose authenticity could not be verified, was posted to an Islamist web site on Wednesday.
The voice on the tape said fighting enemies of Islam sometimes made killing other Muslims unavoidable.
Separately, General John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, said he could not confirm a statement that a recent upsurge in violence in Iraq is the result of a meeting between Mr. al-Zarqawi and his followers in neighboring Syria.
Another U.S. military official, who requested anonymity, made the statement earlier Wednesday. Insurgent attacks have killed more than 300 people this month in Iraq.