Jordanian-born militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted insurgent in Iraq, has been killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad, Iraq's prime minister said Thursday.
The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, said to be responsible for numerous car and suicide bombings and beheadings of foreign and Iraqi hostages, was killed with seven aides Wednesday evening in a safehouse 50 kilometres northeast of Baghdad in the province of Diyala, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said the air strike was the result of intelligence reports provided to Iraqi security forces by residents in the area.
Here are a few highlights from his c.v.:
U.S. officials believe that Zarqawi trained others in the use of poison (ricin?) for possible attacks in Europe, ran a terrorist haven in northern Iraq, and organized the bombing of a Baghdad hotel.
According to suspects arrested in Turkey, Zarqawi sent them to Istanbul to organize an attack on a NATO summit there on June 28 or June 29 of 2004.
United States officials blame Zarqawi for over 700 killings in Iraq during the occupation, mostly from bombings.
According to the United States State Department, Zarqawi is responsible for the Canal Hotel bombing of the United Nations Headquarters in Iraq on August 19, 2003. This attack killed twenty two people, including the United Nations secretary general's special Iraqi envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Zarqawi is believed by the former Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to have written an intercepted letter to the al-Qaeda leadership in February 2004 on the progress of the "Iraqi jihad." Many observers do not believe that Zarqawi wrote the letter.
On July 11, 2004, a group reportedly led by Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for a July 8 mortar attack in Samarra, Iraq. Five American soldiers and one Iraqi soldier were killed.
Believed to have coordinated the infamous second battle of "Al Fallujah" (Operation Phantom Fury/Operation Al Fajr) in November 2004, fought in the battle himself, then slipped away from coalition forces.
Jordan accuses Zarqawi of plotting to release a chemical cloud in Amman. Men were arrested in Amman who purportedly were planning to release the chemical attack. He was convicted in absentia on March 20, 2005, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison in addition to his two death sentences for earlier crimes in Jordan.
Zarqawi is believed to have masterminded the 2005 bombings in Amman that killed about seventy people in three hotels.
Zarqawi released a video tape on April 25, 2006 via the Internet where he praised the terrorists in Iraq.
The United States Army aired an unedited tape of Zarqawi in May 2006 highlighting the fact that he was unable to fire an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Zarqawi was also shown to be wearing tennis shoes in the video. The aim of the video was to remove the myth surrounding Zarqawi and to question his prowess as a military leader.
The air is a little cleaner to breathe without him polluting it.