Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that al-Qaida terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and seven aides were killed in an air strike on a house near Baquba, some fifty kilometers northeast of Baghdad. According to news reports, U.S. military forces acted on information provided to Iraqi officials by local residents.
Prime Minister Maliki said, "Those who disrupt the course of life, like al-Zarqawi, will have a tragic end." He said, "Whenever there is a new al-Zarqawi, we will kill him." Zarqawi was the operational commander of al-Qaida in Iraq. He led a campaign of car bombings, assassinations, and suicide attacks that have taken the lives of thousands of Iraqis in an effort to incite civil war. He was responsible for the destruction of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, the assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, and the bombing of hotels in Amman. Osama bin Laden called Zarqawi "the prince of al-Qaida in Iraq."
President George W. Bush says, "Coalition and Iraqi forces persevered through years of near misses and false leads, and they never gave up":
"Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al-Qaida. It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide in this struggle."
Mr. Bush says, "We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq":
"Zarqawi is dead, but the difficult and necessary mission in Iraq continues. We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him. We can expect the sectarian violence to continue. Yet the ideology of terror has lost one of its most visible and aggressive leaders."
President Bush says, "Iraqis can be justly proud of their new government and its early steps to improve their security." Zarqawi is dead, he says, "but the difficult and necessary mission in Iraq continues."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.