U.S. Military: Al-Zarqawi Tracked Through ID of Spiritual Advisor

JUNE 8, 2006 - Posted at 3:17 p.m. CST

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - The U.S. military says intelligence agents pinpointed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by following his spiritual advisor and deputy to a safehouse in Iraq.

Major General William Caldwell says the militant's adviser was identified by "somebody inside the al-Zarqawi network."

Caldwell says a "painstaking intelligence effort" wound up tracking al-Zarqawi's adviser to a meeting last night and a "decision was made to go ahead and strike that target and eliminate both of them."

An al-Qaida statement confirming al-Zarqawi's death was signed by Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Iraqi, with the title of deputy "emir" of al-Qaida in Iraq.  Caldwell and the top U.S. commander in Iraq both say al-Iraqi was among the eight men killed in the airstrike.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

JUNE 8, 2006 - Posted at 8:05 a.m. CST

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born, al-Qaida-linked terror leader in Iraq, who had become almost as infamous as Osama bin-Laden, is dead.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad last evening along with seven aides.  The room erupted in cheers when the announcement was made at a news conference.

Al-Zarqawi led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings that made him one of the most wanted men in Iraq.  He is believed to have personally beheaded at least two American hostages.

General George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, says al-Zarqawi's body has been identified by fingerprints and facial recognition.

The Jordanian-born militant had a $25 million bounty on his head, courtesy of the U.S. government.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)