The rubble of a house destroyed in the air strike that killed Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi (epa)
June 12, 2006 -- Al-Qaeda in Iraq has reportedly chosen a little-known figure to be its leader, following the death of Abu Mu'sab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air strike last week.
According to an Internet statement, the decision to appoint Abu Hamza al-Muhajir was unanimous. He was not among the figures that experts expected to succeed al-Zarqawi.
Further details about al-Zarqawi's death emerged during the day, including the news that al-Zarqawi lived for some 55 minutes after his hideout was struck on June 7.
A U.S. medical officer, Steve Jones, said al-Zarqawi died from blast waves caused by two bombs. The waves "caused tearing, bruising of the lungs, and bleeding."
DNA tests had confirmed al-Zarqawi's identity.
Five other suspected militants died in the attack.
(Reuters, AFP, AP)
Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi(undated AFP file photo)
COMMITTED TO TERROR: Jordan-born Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi has been among the most visible and ruthless leaders of Iraq's post-Saddam Hussein insurgency. In a tape released earlier this month, al-Zaqawi called on Iraqi Sunnis to fight against Shi'a and labeled Shi'ite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani an "atheist."
Insurgents loyal to Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization have regained control over much of Al-Anbar Governorate, and are posing a major challenge to U.S. and Iraqi forces. A local security force established by tribesmen under an agreement with the U.S. military has all but ceased operating, after nearly a dozen tribal leaders were assassinated in revenge attacks by insurgents loyal to al-Zarqawi's Mujahedin Shura Council since January. Local tribal leaders now say they are afraid to be seen associating with U.S. forces, lest they be targeted by insurgents....(more)
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Three Years After Operation Iraqi Freedom
Sunni Insurgents Turning Against Al-Zarqawi
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THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to see RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.