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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Emir, al-Qaeda in Iraq


Abu Musab al-ZarqawiAbu Musab al-ZarqawiAbu Musab al-Zarqawi

Zarqawi fires weapon
Video: Zarqawi fires weapon
Zarqawi killed in air strike
Video: Zarqawi killed in air strike
Means of DeathU.S. air strike2
Date of DeathJune 7, 20062
Location of DeathBaqubah, Iraq2
AffiliationAl-Qaeda in Iraq
Full Given NameAhmad Fadeel Nazzal al-Khalaylah
Alias(es)Hussein Mohammed Khalaylah, Ahmad Fadil Nazzali Abu al-Mu'taz1, Sakr Abu Suwayd9, Abu Ahmad9, Abu Muhammad9, Ahmad Fadil Al-Khalailah9, Ahmad Fadil Al-Khalaylah9, Ahmad Fadil Al-Khalayleh9, Ahmed Fadee Ii al-Khalaylah, AMZ10
Alternate TransliterationAbu Musab Zarqawi, Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, Abu Musa'ab al-Zarqawi, Abu Musab Zakawi, Abu Mousab Zarqawi
Age at Death39
Date of BirthOct. 20, 19661
Place of BirthZarqa, Jordan1
DescriptionDark hair, dark eyes, olive complexion.9
Injuries/IllnessHe may have been injured in the leg or chest during fighting near Herat, Afghanistan, during U.S. strikes after Sept. 11. He reportedly sought treatment in Baghdad. Al-Qaida in Iraq issued a statement in May 2005 that he had been wounded.4
HistoryVeteran of Afghanistan-Soviet civil war (1980-1989)
HistoryAttended training camp in postwar Afghanistan (1990-2001)
Charged withConspiring to commit terror attacks in Jordan1
Charging authorityJordan
Charges issuedOctober 2000
Case statusConvicted
Charged withConspiring to commit terror attacks in Jordan3
Charging authorityJordan
Charges issuedMid October 2004
Case statusConvicted
Case resolvedFeb. 15, 2006
Narrative and Notes
  • Zarqawi, a brutal thug and the most wanted man in Iraq, was killed at 6:15 p.m. local time on June 7, 2006, along with spiritual adviser Sheik Abd al-Rahman, in a U.S. airstrike on a safe house where Zarqawi was meeting with associates. Coalition forces in Iraq credited "tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network" in locating him.
  • Authorities suggested the $25 million reward on Zarqawi's head would be paid out.
  • He is a member of the Bani Hassan Bedouin tribe, and American officials have said he is of Palestinian descent.
  • He fought in the Soviet-Afghan civil war, and returned to Jordan in the early 1990s. He was jailed in Jordan for most of the decade for plotting to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy. He was radicalized during his prison stay, and then was freed in a general amnesty.
  • In 1999 or 2000, he returned to Afghanistan at set up a camp near Herat, which reportedly specialized in manufacturing poisons.
  • He was also part of a plot to bomb a hotel in Amman, Jordan, frequented by American and Israeli tourists, during millennial celebrations. Jordanian security forces broke it up.
  • He had some sort of association with al-Qaeda at this time, but American intelligence officials have said it was more of an alliance, rather than Zarqawi functioning as a lieutenant of bin Laden's hierarchy.
  • Between Sept. 11, 2001, and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Zarqawi is believed to fled U.S. bombing in Afghanistan, traveled through Iran and sought medical treatment in Baghdad, Iraq between May and July 2002. He may have also gone to Syria and Palestine at some point.
  • Several associates also arrived in Iraq during his stay in Baghdad. Some remained until at least February 2003.
  • Around May 2002, a Kurdish militant group, Ansar al-Islam, built a explosives and poisons training camp in northern Iraq, in a region outside of Saddam's control. Associates of Zarqawi were said to be running this camp.
  • He is believed to have orchestrated the killing of American diplomat Lawrence Foley on Oct. 28, 2002.
  • Through 2004 and 2005, he emerged as the leader of the foreign element of the anti-U.S. insurgency in Iraq. His group carried out brazen bombings, beheadings and other attacks he tried to foment a civil war between Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites.
  • In October 2004, Zarqawi pledged allegiance to bin Laden. Two months later, bin Laden named Zarqawi the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
  • He was also accused of arranging suicide bombings on Nov. 9, 2005, at hotels in Jordan that left dozens dead.
  • He has been repeatedly sentenced to death in absentia in Jordan.1,2,5,6,7
  • Possible
  • At times, western officials have suggested some kind of dissonance or rivalry between Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden. That appears to have evaporated in late 2004 with Zarqawi's pledge of fealty to al-Qaeda.
  • He is also said to have ties with Hezbollah and Asbat al-Ansar.1,8
  • Questionable
  • Zarqawi's reported presence in Iraq in 2002 was used by the Bush administration to suggest ties between the government of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. While it is likely Saddam's intelligence apparatus knew of his presence, it is far less certain that there was any cooperation between them.
  • During the post-invasion insurgency, however, it appears at least some members of Saddam's former regime began working with Zarqawi and his foreign fighters.6,7
  • Invalidated
  • Zarqawi was reported to have lost part of a leg in fighting in Afghanistan after Sept. 11. But subsequent videos of him showed his leg was intact.
    1 U.S. Treasury Department press release, Sept. 24, 2003
    2 Multinational-Force Iraq press release, June 8, 2006.
    3 'Al-Zarqawi Charged In Terror Plot.' Associated Press: Oct. 17, 2004.
    4 'Chronology: Rise and fall of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.' Reuters: June 8, 2006.
    5 'Zarqawi: From street thug to terror leader.' Associated Press: June 8, 2006.
    6 Lumpkin, John J. 'U.S.: Top al-Qaeda aide visited Iraq.' Associated Press: Oct. 2, 2002.
    7 Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations. Feb. 5, 2003.
    8 Bamford, David. 'Zarqawi shows Bin Laden loyalty.' BBC: Oct. 18, 2004.
    9 FBI seeking information sheet.
    10 U.S. government shorthand.
    Photos (left to right): U.S. government, U.S. government, Department of Defense
    Videos: Department of Defense, Department of Defense
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