BAGHDAD, June 8—To kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, U.S. forces first found his spiritual adviser. Then they had to wait. They tracked the adviser for weeks, until he met Iraq’s most-wanted man Wednesday night in a village north of Baghdad. As the two huddled in a farmhouse, an F-16 warplane blasted it with two 500-pound bombs, killing them and at least four other people.
Facial recognition, fingerprints, tattoos and scars allowed intelligence officials to identify the battered body of Zarqawi, who directed some of the bloodiest attacks of the three-year-old insurgency and became its public face.
A long-sought victory for President Bush, the U.S.-led military forces and their Iraqi allies, Zarqawi’s death was the most significant public triumph since the capture of former president Saddam Hussein in late 2003.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 8 ?Muhammad Ismael, a 40-year-old Iraqi taxi driver, was standing outside his home in the tiny village of Hibhib on Wednesday evening when something unusual caught his eye.
Three GMC trucks, each with blackened windows, rumbled past his home and toward the little house in a nearby grove of date palms that for more than three years had stood abandoned.
“It was something very strange,” Mr. Ismael said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “That house is always empty.”