In the first official confirmation, PM al-Maliki said that Jordan has provided intelligence that was used in the raid on Zaraqwi’s hiding place but he also stressed that tips from locals were the primary lead to Zarqawi’s exact location and these were the information according to which the missiles were guided.
Al-Maliki said that among the 7 killed with Zarqawi were two women who were responsible for collecting intelligence for the al-Qaeda HQ cell.
This is just about the best possible news, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
UPDATE: al Qaeda in Iraq has acknowledged Zarqawi’s death, which they refer to as “the joyous news of the martyrdom of our warrior Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.”
Via Power Line News, where you can follow breaking news and commentary on the Zarqawi story all day.
MORE: Austin Bay assesses the strategic significance of Zarqawi’s demise. He also quotes an intriguing post on Strategy Page by Jim Dunnigan earlier this week, which includes this prediction:
Given that Zarqawi has become a loose cannon and that his actions are handicapping Al Qaeda’s efforts, it seems reasonable to expect that an accident may befall him at some point in the near future. If handled right it can be made to look like he went out in a blaze of glory fighting American troops or that he was foully murdered.
And Austin addes that al Jazeera is now playing the video of Zarqawi trying unsuccessfully to fire an American weapon–the one that the New York Times complained was unfair to the terrorist. This is good: Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s most effective terrorist over the past three years, not just dead but ridiculed.
FURTHER UPDATE: UPI’s security analyst assesses the significance of Zarqawi’s elimination:
The Saudi security forces have killed at least five successive operational heads of al-Qaida in their country over the past three years and — alarmist Western media reports to the contrary — they have as a result been able to keep al-Qaida activity ineffectual and minimal.
The killing of Zarqawi does not guarantee U.S. and allied victory against the insurgents. But after a long, dark period since January, it is a ray of genuine light for U.S. policymakers.
Via Power Line News.
Also, Blog of the Week TigerHawk comments:
The humiliation of al Qaeda and its putative allies on the battlefield and in the streets of the West is necessary to destroy the credibility of its ideology. We will win only when the ideology is no longer credible. Al Qaeda bet that victory over the United States in Iraq would bolster its credibility in the Arab and Muslim world. It is losing that bet.
MORE: Michelle Malkin notes the typically demented reaction of the White House press corps:
Will the Zarqawi success help the President on immigration?