"Coalition forces killed al-Qaida [in Iraq] terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and one of his key lieutenants, spiritual adviser Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, yesterday, June 7th, at 6:15 p.m. in an air strike against an identified, isolated safe house," said U.S. General George Casey.
"Tips and intelligence from ... senior leaders from his network led the forces to Zarqawi and some of his associates, who were conducting a meeting approximately eight kilometers north of Baquba when the air strike was launched."
Casey also told reporters gathered in Baghdad that "Iraqi police were first on the scene after the air strike [and] ... coalition forces were able to identify Zarqawi by fingerprint verification, facial recognition and known scars."
The U.S. commander had applauded a few minutes earlier, when Iraq's prime minister confirmed Zarqawi was dead.
"Zarqawi and al-Qaida in Iraq have conducted terrorist activities against the Iraqi people for years, in attempts to undermine the Iraqi national government and coalition efforts to rebuild and stabilize Iraq. He is known to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis," added Casey.
"Zarqawi's death is a significant blow to al-Qaida and another step toward defeating terrorism in Iraq."
Casey concluded his remarks with a warning that terrorists are still active in Iraq.
"Although the designated leader of al-Qaida in Iraq is now dead, the terrorist organization still poses a threat," the American commander said. "Its members will continue to try to terrorize the Iraqi people and destabilize their government as it moves toward stability and prosperity. Iraqi forces, supported by the coalition, will continue to hunt terrorists that threaten the Iraqi people until terrorism is eradicated in Iraq."