Friday, June 09, 2006

Al-Zarqawi Said to Have Survived Airstrike

Al-Zarqawi Said to Survive Airstrike

Jun 09 9:41 AM US/Eastern
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AP Military Writer


Terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still alive when Iraqi police
arrived at a site that was bombed by U.S. forces, a top-level spokesman
for American military forces said Friday.

Major Gen. Bill Caldwell, briefing military reporters at the Pentagon
from his post in Baghdad, said he learned that al-Zawqari was alive
after getting briefings on the military operation that netted al-
Zarqawi and several others.

"He mumbled something but it was indistinguishable and it was very
short," Caldwell said.

The U.S. military earlier had displayed images of the battered face of
al-Zarqawi and reported that he had been identified by fingerprints,
tattoos and scars. Biological samples from his body also were delivered
to an FBI crime laboratory in Virginia for DNA testing. The results were
expected in three days.

Caldwell said Friday that authorities made a visual identification of
al-Zarqawi upon arriving at the site of the airstrike.

He said that when the terrorist "attempted to sort of turn away off the
stretcher, everybody reached to insert him back. ... He died a short
time later from the wounds suffered during the air strike."

"We did in fact see him alive," Caldwell said. "There was some sort of
movement he had on the stretcher and he did die a short time later.
There was confirmation from the Iraqi police that he was found alive."

Al-Zarqawi, who had a $25 million bounty on his head, was killed at 6:15
p.m. Wednesday after an intense two-week hunt that U.S. officials said
first led to the terror leader's spiritual adviser and then to him.

U.S. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said at the time
that the American airstrike targeted "an identified, isolated safe
house." Four other people, including a woman and a child, were killed
with al-Zarqawi and Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Iraqi, the terrorist's spiritual

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