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Zarqawi Killed By Air Attack

F-16s Lead Major Allied Victory

ANN REAL TIME NEWS: 1045 EDT  -- Military sources are now reporting that the aircraft responsible for the actual "kill" are in fact, F-16s, and not helos. 500 pound munitions were apparently used in the strike that eliminated al-Zarqawi as a future threat to Iraq and the rest of the world. The details are coming hot and heavy and may yet change again before the day is out, but one thing is for certain... some pilot, somewhere, will not have to buy beer for the rest of his or her life.

ANN REAL TIME NEWS: 0645 EDT -- The leader of the al Qaeda in Iraq was killed Thursday morning as US and Iraqi forces using special operations troops and helicopter gunships assaulted a road house in Baquba. Both US military officials and the Iraqi prime minister say Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was found mortally wounded in the rubble of that house after helicopters fired missiles into the building. Zarqawi was reportedly enroute from Baghdad to Baquba, a Sunni city 40 miles north of the capital, when he stopped at the house.

Seven people were reportedly in the building, including two women.

The attack was carried out by a joint special operations task force. Iraqi and US soldiers secured the approaches to the house, and then attack helicopters engaged the building with missile fire. Commanders say, after the missiles were fired, commandos entered the house and found Zarqawi near death. He was taken from the scene by Iraqi forces and given medical treatment, but succumbed to his wounds.

The missiles also killed a senior al-Qaeda cleric and spiritual advisor. No information on the other residents of the house is available. Initial reports indicate the missiles were fired by H-6 or H-60 helicopters of the 160th SOAR.

An Aero-News reporter familiar with special operations was in touch with sources in Iraq by electronic means shortly after Zarqawi was killed, and was tipped off that something was up. His contact wasn't in a position to know details at that point, but he said it was clear given changes in his immediate mission that whatever had occurred was something big indeed. At about 0300 Eastern time, major media outlets began reporting the rumored, then the confirmed, death of Iraq's most-wanted terrorist.

Sources tell ANN the attack on Zarqawi came as a result of an intelligence dragnet that has been quietly tightening around the al Qaeda leader for a long time. Yesterday, forces from the same joint special operations task force captured another senior al-Qaeda member, reportedly al-Zarqawi's second-in-command.

FMI: www.centcom.mil

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