Al-Qaida chief al-Zarqawi killed
Updated: 2006-06-08 15:40
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced on Thursday that al Qaeda
leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed in a joint U.S. and Iraqi
military raid north of Baghdad.
Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is seen in these undated photos - the photo at left
released in Amman, Jordan, Dec. 14, 2002, the photo at right released by
the Department of State September 2004. Iraq's prime minister is expected
to make an important announcement early Thursday June 8, 2006 amid reports
that al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed.
Jordanian-born Zarqawi is blamed by the United States for the beheading of
foreign captives and suicide bombings that have maimed and killed hundreds in
Iraq. He had become a figurehead for Islamist militants opposing Washington and
"Today Zarqawi has been terminated," Maliki told a
televised news conference attended by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General
George Casey, and other senior officials.
Casey said Zarqawi's body had
been identified and warned that Zarqawi's followers still posed a security
threat to Iraq.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Zarqawi's death
marked a "great succees" but cautioned that it will not end violence in the
Casey said Zarqawi was killed in an air raid. Casey said the
hunt for al-Zarqawi began in the area two weeks ago, and al-Zarqawi's body was
identified by fingerprints and facial recognition.
A picture of the dead Al Qaeda leader in
Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is displayed by the U.S. military during a news
conference at the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad June 8, 2006.
ABC news reported on Thursday that U.S. helicopters
hit a house near Baquba, 40 miles (65 km) north of Baghdad, at 6 p.m. local time
"Zarqawi was apparently injured at first... The Americans
found him. They handed him over to the Iraqis and he later died of his
injuries," ABC said.
Maliki said the air strike was the result of
intelligence reports provided to Iraqi security forces by residents in the area,
and U.S. forces acted on the information.
"Those who disrupt the course
of life, like al-Zarqawi, will have a tragic end," he said.