VARIOUS: U.S. Major Genearl William Caldwell, spokesperson for the US military in Baghdad, says Abu Musab...
- Title: VARIOUS: U.S. Major Genearl William Caldwell, spokesperson for the US military in Baghdad, says Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still alive after bombing and died soon after
- Date: 10th June 2006
- Summary: (W2) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JUNE 9, 2006) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC IN BAGHDAD ROAD DONKEY PULLING CART DOWN BAGHDAD STREET
- Reuters ID: LVA7Z7STNXOAA7BJK8C8PFQ8HECQ
- Duration: 00:00:13
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- Topics: War / Fighting,Defence / Military
- Story Text: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was alive and made a move to escape when U.S. troops reached the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, mortally wounded in an American bombing raid, a U.S. general said on Friday (June 9).
The attack that killed Zarqawi and his spiritual adviser, Sheik Abdul-Rahman, yielded valuable information for several subsequent raids in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad, told reporters who asked questions from the Pentagon.
"Zarqawi did in fact survive the air strike. The report specifically states that nobody else did survive though, from what they know. The first people on the scene were the Iraqi police. They had found him, and had put him into some kind of gurney, stretcher kind of thing, and then American coalition forces arrived immediately thereafter on site. They immediately went to the person in the stretcher - were able to start identifying him by some distinguishing marks on his body. They had some kind of visual, facial recognition. According to the person on the ground, Zarqawi attempted to sort of turn away off the stretcher. They - everybody re-secured him onto the stretcher, but he died almost immediately thereafter from the wounds he received from the air strike. As far as anybody else, again, the report says that nobody else survived," Caldwell said.
The general added that efforts were made to provide the Al Qaeda leader with medical assistance.
Zarqawi gave up no information before he died, but the attack has yielded unprecedented intelligence about his network, Caldwell said.
The U.S. Army general said there were 17 raids in and around Baghdad shortly after the attack, some made possible by intelligence gained in it. The intelligence also helped support some of an additional 39 raids Thursday (June 8) night.
There were six people in the house at the time of the attack - three women and three men, Caldwell said at a Pentagon briefing later on Friday. There were no survivors, he said.
On Thursday (June 8), the remains of Zarqawi were delivered to an FBI laboratory for DNA testing. It's the final step in confirming his identity.
The U.S. military also released pictures of the corpse of the bearded Zarqawi with facial abrasions and eyes closed.
Baghdad residents on Friday (June 09) said they were glad he was dead.
"It (the killing of Zarqawi) is a thorn in the eye of our enemies. God willing, the situation will gradually improve," said Wissam Hashim, an Iraqi citizen.
"The killing of Zarqawi is a crushing blow to terrorism, a crushing blow to all those who hurt (the Iraqis). It payback for the families who lost their husbands and sons. He (Zarqawi) increased the number of orphans. He killed and destroyed the world," said Mohammed Kadhim Radhi.
Authorities on Friday enforced a traffic ban in an apparent effort to prevent reprisal attacks.
Suicide car bombers launched by Zarqawi have attacked Shi'ite mosques in the past as part of a campaign to plunge Iraq into sectarian civil war. The traffic ban suggested authorities feared more such attacks.
The news of Zarqawi's death dominated newspaper headlines in Jordan.
Born Ahmed Fadhil al-Khalayleh to a notable family that is part of the biggest tribe in Jordan, Zarqawi grew up in the dusty streets of Zarqa, an industrial city where unemployment is high and Islamic militancy widespread.
Jailed by Jordanian authorities for several years in the early 1990s, Zarqawi went on to fight U.S. forces in Iraq, where Osama bin Laden named him the "prince" of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Jordan condemned Zarqawi to death in 2004 for the killing of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan two years earlier.
Any sympathy Zarqawi may have enjoyed from his fellow-countrymen was largely wiped out when his Al Qaeda in Iraq organisation was blamed for three co-ordinated bomb blasts at hotels in the capital Amman last November, which killed 60 and injured 115 more.
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