Zarqawi is dead by US Air Strike!

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Zarqawi is dead by US Air Strike!

Postby IPC » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:19 am

Zarqawi is dead by US Air Strike!

Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, Osama Bin Laden's deputy and Al Qaeda leader in Iraq is dead. Zarqawi died by US Air Strike! This is a victory for war against terror.


US air strike kills al Qaeda's Zarqawi

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. warplanes killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq blamed for bombings, beheadings and assassinations, and President George W. Bush said on Thursday that American forces had "delivered justice."

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This video image displayed by the U.S. Military at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq Thursday, June 8, 2006, purports to show the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and kidnappings, who was killed in an U.S. air strike Wednesday, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Thursday, June 8, 2006. (AP Photo/U.S. Military)

In one of the most significant developments in Iraq since the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Jordanian Zarqawi was killed in a bombing raid on Wednesday in a U-S.-Iraqi operation helped by tip-offs from Iraqis and Jordanian intelligence.

Vowing to fight on, al Qaeda in Iraq confirmed the death of Zarqawi, who beheaded several hostages himself and who appeared in a recent video firing a machine gun in the desert.

U.S. forces displayed at a news conference a picture of the corpse of the bearded Zarqawi with facial abrasions and his eyes closed. The air strike was carried out by two F-16 aircraft with two 500-pound (227 kg) bombs hitting the Zarqawi "safe house."

Zarqawi, in his late 30s and whom Osama bin Laden called the prince of al Qaeda in Iraq, had symbolized the radical Islamic insurgency against U.S. occupation, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he now expected insurgents to seek revenge.

"There will be fierce attempts ... with the death of Zarqawi to fight back," Blair said, adding his death would not end the killing in Iraq but that it was "significant."

Bush said the death of Zarqawi, who had a $25 million bounty on his head, was "a severe blow to al Qaeda," a victory in the war on terrorism, "and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle."

FOLLOWERS PLEDGE TO FIGHT ON

Followers of Zarqawi, a Sunni Muslim who had declared war on Iraq's majority Shi'ites reinforcing fears that he was out to ignite civil war, pledged to continue their fight.

"We tell our prince, Sheikh bin Laden, your soldiers in al Qaeda in Iraq will continue along the same path that you set out for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," said a statement on an Islamist Web site. "The death of our leaders is life for us and only makes us more determined to continue the jihad..."

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was desperately in need of success to bolster his authority, announced the killing of Zarqawi in the strike near the city of Baquba 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital.

U.S. special operations forces confirmed Zarqawi's location based on intelligence from Iraqis and "delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq," Bush said.

"It truly was a very long, painstaking, deliberate exploitation of intelligence, information gathering, human sources, electronics, signal intelligence that was done over a period of time, many, many weeks," U.S. Major General William Caldwell said, giving details of the operation.

U.S. forces were trailing Sheikh Abdul-Rahman, Zarqawi's spiritual adviser, and that led them to a small house in a palm grove area and Zarqawi. Five others were killed in the strike.

Seventeen raids were launched on other suspected hideouts for Zarqawi associates in and around Baghdad hours after he was killed. They produced a "treasure trove" of information.

Bush was informed by national security adviser Stephen Hadley at 4:35 p.m. (2035 GMT) on Wednesday in the Oval Office that it was believed Zarqawi was dead, and Bush replied: "That would be a good thing," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

Zarqawi's death had an impact on oil prices. Crude futures were down more than one dollar to $68.17 a barrel.

SUICIDE BOMBERS

Zarqawi, who U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad called the "godfather of sectarian killing in Iraq," had inspired a flood of militants from across the Arab world to blow themselves up in suicide missions in Iraq.

Taunting Bush during the videotaped killing of a sobbing, blindfolded U.S. hostage, Zarqawi once boasted that his al Qaeda fighters "love death just like you love life."

"Killing for the sake of God is their best wish," the insurgent leader said, drawing a knife to hack off the head of his kneeling victim.

Zarqawi's reputation for personal savagery stood out even in a country where brutal killings were routine, and sparked reports bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri were worried his homicidal zeal would undermine support for their network.

Some Arab citizens hailed Zarqawi as a hero for his role in the insurgency but others welcomed his death as a form of justice for a militant whose attacks killed far more Iraqi civilians than foreign troops.

Another view was that the United States, anxious to find a scapegoat for its troubles in Iraq, deliberately demonized Zarqawi and exaggerated his significance as a militant leader.

"Zarqawi didn't have a number two. I can't think of any single person who would succeed Zarqawi," Rohan Gunaratna from the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore said. "In terms of effectiveness, there was no single leader in Iraq who could match his ruthlessness and his determination."
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Postby IPC » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:21 am

Bush hails operation to kill al-Zarqawi

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Thursday that killing terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi struck a severe blow to al-Qaida and opens a new opportunity for the fledging democracy in Iraq "Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again," Bush said in the Rose Garden as he announced the U.S. airstrike on the militant whom Osama bin Laden had dubbed the "emir," or prince, of al-Qaida in Iraq.

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President George W. Bush speaks on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in Washington June 8, 2006. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said a terrorist mastermind is gone.

"Over the past several years no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men, women and children on his hands," Rumsfeld said at a meeting of NATO ministers in Brussels. But he cautioned al-Zarqawi's death "will not mean the end of all violence in that country."

Rumsfeld said it was apt that al-Zarqawi, who had tried to thwart Iraqi elections and formation of a new government, died on the very day that the new government in Baghdad finalized its cabinet.

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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. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz (IRAQ)

It was an encouraging sign for the administration's war in Iraq. The U.S. has not seen the elimination of such an iconic figure since late 2003 when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was found in an underground bunker.

"This is a significant hit," said Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record), D-Del. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "The entire world of people who believe in freedom and peace can take solace in what happened."

"I am more optimistic then ever that a free and stable Iraq can be achieved," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, declared, "Americans are safer today."

The U.S. government had offered up to $25 million for information leading to al-Zarqawi's killing or capture, putting him on a par with Saddam, bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

U.S. authorities are unclear who would succeed al-Zarqawi as the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. A defense intelligence official noted that a number of al-Zarqawi's deputies have been taken out in recent months, which could cause chaos among the group's top tier. The official, who requested anonymity because events were still unfolding, warned that there could be retaliation in the United States or elsewhere.

Bush, who did not address the debate over the withdrawing of U.S. troops, will meet Monday at Camp David with members of his national security team and other members of his Cabinet to discuss the next steps in Iraq. On Tuesday, Iraq's new ambassador to the United States will join the group for a teleconference discussion with the prime minister and members of the Iraqi cabinet.

Bush learned of the killing Wednesday afternoon from national security adviser Stephen Hadley, who had received a phone call from Baghdad shortly before 4 p.m. EST. "Coalition and Iraqi forces persevered through years of near misses and false leads, and they never gave up," Bush said in praising U.S.-led troops who killed al-Zarqawi.

In the Rose Garden, Bush read from prepared notes, shifting his weight from foot to foot. Hadley and Vice President Dick Cheney, standing under a tree, watched him deliver the uplifting news for a White House that has been weighed down by waning public confidence in his handling of the war.

In AP-Ipsos polling this week, 59 percent said the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq, a new high. And only 44 percent said it is likely that a stable, democratic government will be established in Iraq, the lowest number since the war began.

Bush hailed defeat of Zarqawi as "an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle," but said more terrorist and insurgent violence is to be expected.

"We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continued patience of the American people," he said.

Killing al-Zarqawi allowed U.S. counterterrorism officials only a brief sigh of relief. Officials have said that the loss of key leaders like bin Laden, Zawahri and al-Zarqawi — especially if they were lost in rapid succession — could cause the jihadist movement to fracture into smaller groups.

The U.S. government has misunderstood al-Zarqawi at times.

Before the April 2003 collapse of Saddam's government, the Bush administration cited his presence in Iraq among its evidence of contacts between al-Qaida and the former regime — and part of its justification for the Iraq war. While al-Zarqawi is believed to have been in Iraq, later assessment found he was not operating as part of al-Qaida then.

But by October 2004, however, al-Zarqawi pledged his allegiance to bin Laden.

Born in Jordan in 1966, al-Zarqawi developed ties to mujahedeen, or holy warriors, while fighting alongside them during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Intelligence officials believe al-Zarqawi had cells or links to Muslim extremists worldwide, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan and Kuwait. FBI and other government officials did not believe al-Zarqawi had operatives within the U.S. under his command, but they had said it's likely that he had ties to some U.S.-based militants or sympathizers from his years of work in the extremist community. U.S. officials have said bin Laden contacted al-Zarqawi last year to enlist him in attacks outside Iraq. Al-Zarqawi's group claimed responsibility for deadly bombings at three hotels in Jordan in November, including a wedding, which drew fierce condemnation.
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Postby IPC » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:25 am

Zarqawi is dead

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The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is seen in this file photograph taken from undated video footage posted on the Internet on April 25, 2006. Iraq's prime minister has announced the death of al-Zarqawi, state television reported on June 8, 2006. REUTERS/Handout/Files

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A U.S. soldier stands next to the picture of the dead al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, during a news conference at the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad June 8, 2006. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz (IRAQ)

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US hostage Nick Berg sits infront of his hooded captors in May 2004. Berg was eventually beheaded by Al-Qaeda militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Berg's father said he drew little comfort from the death of his son's murderer as long as the violence in Iraq continued.(AFP/File)

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Iraqi soldiers celebrate after learning that Al-Qaeda militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an air strike. US President George W. Bush and his global allies have hailed the killing of Zarqawi as a major strike against the "evil" terror network but warned it remained a grave threat.(AFP/Karim Sahib)

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US President George W. Bush and his global allies have hailed the killing of Al-Qaeda's chief in Iraq, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, as a major strike against the "evil" terror network but warned it remained a grave threat.(AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

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British Prime Minister Tony Blair gestures during his monthly press conference at No. 10 Downing Street in London. Blair said he had "no illusions" that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death would alone lead to stability in Iraq but welcomed it as a blow to Al-Qaeda.(AFP/John D McHugh)
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