Thursday, June 8, 2006

al-Qaeda's Iraq leader Zarqawi killed

Now that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is reported as dead we can all hope that the escalating violence in Iraq will subside.

While there is a strong temptation to celebrate the demise of this brutal, barbaric man, I remind myself that his followers will view his death as that of
a martyr for the jihad. The day to rejoice will be the day when the hearts and minds of the young men and women that followed Zarqawi are turned to peace.


al-Qaeda's Iraq leader Zarqawi killed on Yahoo! News
By Mariam Karouny 22 minutes ago

Read the entire article at:

U.S. warplanes killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's Iraq leader who masterminded a campaign of bombings and beheadings, in a strike that President George W. Bush said could help to turn the tide against the insurgency.

"(The air strike) delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq," Bush said in Washington on Thursday. But he signaled he did not expect an early end to the violence.

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

The news coincided with a political breakthrough as parliament approved Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's candidates to become the new defense and interior ministers after long and intense wrangling among his coalition government partners.

Vowing to fight on, al Qaeda in Iraq confirmed the death of Zarqawi, who beheaded several hostages himself.

The Sunni Arab, who had a $25 million bounty on his head, had declared war on Iraq's majority Shi'ites, threatening a full sectarian conflict.

The U.S. military released pictures of the corpse of the bearded Zarqawi with facial abrasions and eyes closed.

The air strike was carried out by two F-16 planes, one of which dropped two 500 lb (227 kg) guided bombs onto Zarqawi's "safe house."

Osama bin Laden called Zarqawi, who was in his late 30s, the prince of al Qaeda in Iraq, and he had symbolized the radical Islamist insurgency against U.S. occupation.

U.S. special forces were involved in trailing Sheikh Abdul-Rahman, Zarqawi's spiritual adviser, to uncover Zarqawi's presence in a small house in a palm grove.

Abdul-Rahman was also killed in the air strike.

"(Zarqawi's death provides) an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle," Bush told a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Despite the killing near the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, a somber-looking Bush said Washington's "difficult and necessary mission in Iraq" would have to go on.

A string of bombs killed at least 31 people in Baghdad on Thursday.

The deadliest, a roadside bomb in a crowded market in an eastern area, killed 13 people, police said.

"We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continued patience of the American people," said Bush, battling low poll ratings, partly over Iraq, as his Republican Party faces mid-term congressional elections in November.

Followers of Zarqawi pledged to carry on their fight.

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.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

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