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Thursday, June 08, 2006 

Terrorist Leader Killed by Coalition Forces

“Zarqawi is dead”

“The ideology of terror has lost its most visible, aggressive leader”- President Bush

Coalition forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last night. Zarqawi was the operational commander of the terrorist movement in Iraq. Osama bin Laden called him the “Prince of al-Qaeda in Iraq”. Al-Qaeda identified Iraq as “the greatest battle” in its global war.

  • Wednesday night in Iraq, United States military forces killed the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Special Operations Forces, acting on tips and intelligence from Iraqis, confirmed Zarqawi’s location – and delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. Zarqawi was conducting a meeting at an identified, isolated safe house north of Baqubah.

  • Zarqawi’s death is a severe blow to al-Qaeda ... a victory for the Iraqi people ... and an opportunity for Iraq’s new government to begin to turn the tide of this struggle.

  • Zarqawi was the operational commander of the terrorist movement in Iraq. He personally beheaded American hostages and other civilians in Iraq. He led a campaign of car bombings, assassinations, and suicide attacks that have taken the lives of many Americans and thousands of innocent Iraqis. Osama bin Laden called this Jordanian terrorist the “Prince of al-Qaeda in Iraq” – and called on terrorists around the world to “listen to him and obey him.”

  • Zarqawi sought to defeat America and our Coalition partners – and turn Iraq into a safe haven from which al-Qaeda could wage its war on the West. He had declared that “we fight today in Iraq, and tomorrow in the Land of the Two Holy Places, and after there the West.”

  • Iraqi security forces played a critical role in the operation. Tips provided to Iraqi security forces, as well as intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network, led forces to al-Zarqawi. Iraqi police were first on the scene after the air strike, followed by Coalition forces.

  • But Zarqawi’s death is a significant blow to al-Qaeda - in Iraq and everywhere. Last summer, al-Qaeda’s number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, declared Iraq to be “the place for the greatest battle.” With his death, AQ has lost its senior leader in the primary front in the War on Terror.

  • We also must expect violence to continue. The new Iraqi government has already announced a positive agenda to tackle sectarian violence, including securing Baghdad, disarming militias, rebuilding Iraq’s economy and promoting national reconciliation.

  • Today, Prime Minister Maliki took another step forward, completing the formation of his unity government. Naming a Minister of Interior and a Minister of Defense are significant steps toward Iraqi leaders increasingly taking the lead on security matters, and are be critical in addressing Prime Minister Maliki’s priorities of securing Baghdad and Basra and disarming militias.

  • As the President has said, the new unity government in Iraq is a new opportunity for progress. The Prime Minister has the right agenda for moving Iraq forward, and we will align our efforts in Iraq to help the new government succeed. Next week, the President will meet with his national security team and other key members of his Cabinet at Camp David to review our efforts in Iraq and how to best deploy America's resources in Iraq to achieve our shared goal of an Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself and sustain itself.

  • Completing the formation of the new Iraqi government and killing the terrorist leader Zarqawi are two significant steps toward denying terrorists safe haven in Iraq and safeguarding the people of the United States.

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