Details emerge on how al-Zarqawi's location was pinned

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Friday, June 9, 2006

Someone said to be an informant within Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's trusted circle told Coalition forces the insurgent leader was going to have a meeting, it has emerged. This information appears to have led US F-16Cs to a safehouse in the Iraqi town of Hibhid, where the Jordanian and five others, including a child, were killed on Wednesday.

F-16: a similar plane was used to kill Abu Musab al-Zarwaqi, in Hibhid.

"We had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Zarqawi was in the house. There was 100 percent confirmation," Caldwell said.

The informer is said to want the insurgency to pursue a strategy within the Iraqi political process, which in the informer's view was in contrast to tactics executed by al-Zarqawi's leadership that involved ethnic killings.

It was one of the last in a long line of breadcrumbs leading the hunt for the Iraqi government's most-wanted murderer to the doorstep of an attractive isolated house in Hibhid.

In a late-April video al-Zarqawi had been shown spraying bullets from a machine gun with a horizon in the background. This is said to have revealed the general location of al-Zarqawi, found near Diyala province, in the north east of Iraq. The ethnically mixed region had seen an upsurge in violence and over days preceding the airstrike.

Murders had included a number of decapitated heads left in fruitboxes. Al-Zarqawi had been known for kidnapping and video beheadings of westerners in Iraq.

Another al-Zarwaqi insider also had given vital clues to the investigators before the final tip-off. A former customs clearance officer in Rutba identified as Ziad Khalaf al-Karbuli had named Sheikh Abu Abdul-Rahman as al-Zarqawi's spiritual advisor and gave-up contact details.

Ziad Khalaf al-Karbuli had appeared on Jordanian television, May 23, to confess his links to al-Zarqawi, and to his murder of a Jordanian driver and his kidnap of two Moroccan embassy employees in 2005. The vital clue about Abu Abdul-Rahman was not broadcast.

With details from the al-Karbuli interrogation the gunsights got closer to al-Zarqawi. "Through painstaking intelligence effort, they were able to start tracking him, monitoring his movements and establishing when he was doing his link-ups with Zarqawi, " Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said of the investigators.

The US search for the Sheikh included the use of remote controlled aircraft, it was revealed.

However; it is said neither the al-Karbuli information nor the al-Zarqawi betrayer lead the Americans to press the fire button on al-Zarwaqi's two-story home. Al-Zarqawi was hard to catch because he reportedly eschewed trackable cell-phones in favour of high-tech Thuraya-made satellite phones to communicate.

Dead: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

The death certificate was signed by the secret informant who said both Sheikh Abu Abdul-Rahman and al-Zarqawi would be in Hibhid, Wednesday night.

For the elusive insurgent who had previously escaped attempts to bomb him, the execution came after comparison of this source's information with tracks of the location of satellite phone users.

The location found was beside a property with a courtyard surrounded by fields away from other buildings. It appears then the US command made the decision to strike at an address in the small town, near Baqubah.

US special forces were on the scene to photograph the dead al-Zarqawi at 6:17 p.m., two minutes after two 500lb bombs were dropped. Al-Zarqawi was said to be alive and being given medical assistance when he died of wounds sustained in the bombing.

The announcement of the killing was made Thursday by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said to viewers of Iraqi television the $25 million bounty for information leading to the death or capture of al-Zarqawi would be "honored."

Sources

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