Air raid kills al-Qaeda’s Zarqawi

It would appear the butcher of Baghdad has been killed by the US. The Jordanian-born militant, who is believed to have personally beheaded several Western hostages including Ken Bigley, a Liverpool engineer, was the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq after swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2004. He had a $25 million bounty on his head. This report from News.com

THE al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a US air attack near Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said today.

"Today, al-Zarqawi was eliminated," Mr Maliki told a news conference. His statement drew loud applause in the hall where he made the announcement. ABC news reported that US helicopters hit a house near Baquba, 65km north of Baghdad, at sunset yesterday. "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.
The BBC has an obituary and mentions Zarquawi was a rival of Bin Laden.
Both men rose to prominence as "Afghan Arabs" - leading foreign fighters in the "jihad" against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It was a far cry from Zarqawi's youth as a petty criminal in Jordan, remembered by those who knew him as a simple, quick-tempered and barely literate gangster.
Another nail in al-Qaeda's coffin.

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