JERUSALEM – With October becoming the most deadly month for U.S. troops in Iraq in nearly two years, Palestinian preachers in several major mosques in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are celebrating the anti-American violence as a gift from Allah bestowed upon Muslims through prayer during the holy month of Ramadan, according to congregants.

Terror leaders told WND the insurgency in Iraq exposed U.S. weakness and will soon force an American withdrawal, citing as proof the “many” people in the U.S. who are comparing the war in Iraq to Vietnam.

Abu Ayman, a leader of the Islamic Jihad terror group in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, told WND, “We saw in Iraq this month how Allah helped the mujahedeen fighters to mark a great victory, a victory that brought the Americans to speak for the first time seriously and sincerely that Iraq is becoming a new Vietnam and that they should fix a schedule for their withdrawal from Iraq.”

Continued the terror leader: “During Ramadan (which ended last week), it is known that the motivation of the Muslims and of the mujahedeen in particular is higher than in any other period of the year. The good acts of the Muslims and the mujahedeen are better paid in this month in which the gates of paradise are open and those of hell are closed.”

One preacher in the West Bank city of Hebron told WND the death of American troops is “promised by Allah in the holy Quran.”

“It is the realization of the verse of El Phil (the elephant) where Allah hit the Prophet’s enemies with special and very warm Sejeel stones. The rockets and mortars of the Mujahedeen in Iraq are the Sejeel stones of our days.”

The preacher was referring to the Quranic story of “unbelievers” advancing on an elephant to kill Muhammad. According to the Quran, birds from heaven lobbed “Sejeel stones” at the elephant, scaring the animal away and thwarting the attack.

Also in Hebron this past weekend, Hizb A-Tahrir, a popular Palestinian Islamist political party, distributed a pamphlet stating the holiness of Ramadan, which ended last week, was responsible for the large number of American casualties in Iraq.

The pamphlet went on to claim the popular Muslim phrase “Allah Hu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) has “huge significance in the world.”

“The Arab traitor leaders think that America is the Akbar, is the greatest, but the deaths in Iraq this month proves what we knew all along that Allah is the greatest and no power is stronger than Allah. May Allah keep cooling our hearts and souls with more and more American soldiers killed,” stated the pamphlet.

In several Internet chat rooms associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, which is partially funded by the U.S., users this weekend spoke of an American withdrawal from Iraq as imminent.

One user hailed the “good and divine news that comes from Iraq,” referring to the high number of deaths. The user wrote it is “only a question of time” before the U.S. withdraws from the country.

With the announcement Saturday of the death of a U.S. marine, October became the deadliest month for American soldiers in Iraq in nearly twenty-two months, bringing the number of U.S. forces killed so far this month to 98, the highest since January 2005 when 107 died in action.

President George Bush last Wednesday said he was unsatisfied with elements of the war but that the U.S. was ultimately winning and must stay the course in Iraq.

“I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq,” said Bush at a press conference. “I’m not satisfied either.”

“The events of the past month have been a serious concern to me and a serious concern to the American people,” the president said. Bush said the U.S. is changing tactics to deal with circumstances in Iraq but shouldn’t change the overall direction of the war.

“Absolutely we’re winning,” the president asserted.

Less than two weeks before midterm elections, Democrats last week urged a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. But Bush rejected the calls, explaining a fixed timetable for withdrawal “means defeat.”

Currently, 144,000 U.S. military personnel are deployed in Iraq.

Bush said he would send more troops if Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Baghdad, said more are needed to stabilize the region. Earlier last week, Casey said he might request an increase in U.S. forces to stop the bloodshed.



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