Contact: Josh Holly (202) 225-2539
Washington, D.C. --- Today, Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and members of the House Armed Services Committee commented on the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of the brutal terrorist network al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, dubbed the “Prince of al-Qaeda” by Osama bin Laden, Zarqawi’s spiritual advisor and several Zarqawi lieutenants were killed by coalition forces on June 7 at 6:15 p.m. in an air strike – two United States Air Force F-16s delivered two 500-pound bombs – against an isolated safe house north of Baqubah. Coalition forces were able to identify al-Zarqawi by fingerprint verification, facial recognition and known scars.
Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA):
“This success against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his top lieutenants manifests the importance of persistence and reflects the extreme competence and capability of the United States anti-terrorism efforts in Iraq. This important strategic success reflects the need for continued American persistence and patience in completing the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Chairman Curt Weldon (R-PA):
“Today's successful air strike on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a testament to the professionalism and heroism of the American men and women serving in Iraq. The death of al-Zarqawi is a critical achievement toward improving Iraq’s security situation and represents another important milestone for the Iraqi people. Al-Zarqawi was a ruthless murderer; he personally beheaded at least two Americans and oversaw the bombing and killing of countless innocent civilians and American troops. He was behind much of the terrorism and sectarian violence that has besieged Iraq in the past three years. His elimination is great news for all Iraqis and for our troops.
“The cooperation between American and Iraqi forces in locating and eradicating al-Zarqawi is yet another example of the increased strength in Iraq’s ability to provide for its own security. There are many political opportunists who have called for a unilateral withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. This ‘cut and run’ strategy will only destroy the progress that has been made in Iraq and undermine the sacrifices of our troops for the freedom of the Iraqi people.”
Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee Chairman Jim Saxton (R-NJ)
“The poster boy who united terrorism with Iraq is dead. The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by U.S. forces, using joint intelligence, removes the man who took Iraq's insurgency to new heights of savagery. His death will not end the insurgency – but it does stop a ruthless coward from pursuing a strategy of barbarism between Sunnis and majority Shias that has pushed the country to the brink of civil war.
“I think high praise is due to our troops in the field. U.S. forces doggedly tracked him across the rugged Iraqi countryside. Their patience and perseverance paid off. This is a good day for the Iraqi people who have borne the brunt of his murderous operations.”
Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC):
“Zarqawi was an important leader for al-Qaeda and a powerful figure for terrorists around the world – both tactically and symbolically. He is responsible for orchestrating the death of many civilians and coalition soldiers. After having just returned from the region, I don’t believe his death will end all violence in Iraq, but his demise is an important psychological boost to the Iraqi people and a blow to those who sympathize with militant extremists
“I commend our troops for their continued skill and bravery. Their resourcefulness and determination is a reflection of their dedication to their mission and our nation.”
Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT):
“This is good news that this vicious leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed. It is good news because it was a joint operation where Iraqi forces played a major role in providing intelligence and securing the site after the bombing. It is good news because it was an operation which occurred in the same week that the Iraqi government named Ministers of Defense and Interior. It is good news for the Jordanian family whose wedding he blew up. It is good news for the innocent Iraqi men, women and children who were victims of this monster. Of course, it is not the end of al-Qaeda in Iraq, but it is a major disruption to their organization and an important benchmark for the Iraqi people as they work to secure their own independent country.”
Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA):
“The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the brutal leader of al-Qaeda’s terrorist network in Iraq, is a major victory for freedom and the war against terrorism. I commend our armed forces for a job well done, and I see this development as a step forward in our efforts to protect America, destroy terrorism and bring peace to a new Iraq.
“The successful attack on al-Zarqawi demonstrates the effectiveness of good intelligence and comes on the heels of another successful operation in Canada where a major terror cell was disbanded in Toronto. Sound intelligence, effective internal policing and international cooperation have been keys to these successes."
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC):
“Today’s victory in Iraq is a testament to the tremendous skill of the United States military. By risking their lives to kill terrorists in Iraq, these brave men and women are protecting the lives of American families and making our country safer. As we celebrate this incredible milestone, we need to express our sincere gratitude to our brave troops and our Iraqi allies.
“As the operation commander of the terrorist movement in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi delighted in the devastation of Iraq and the destruction of life. As the mastermind behind countless car bombings, mass murders and assassinations, he was responsible for the brutal deaths of many Americans and thousands of innocent Iraqis.”
Rep. John Kline (R-MN):
"This has been an exciting and good news day in Iraq. The Coalition Force’s success in killing the brutal al-Qaeda terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is very important in the continuing fight for freedom in Iraq and greater security in the world. We should all be very proud of the magnificent American men and women fighting in Iraq. Congratulations especially to the F-16 pilots and all others involved. Well done!
“I am also pleased that Prime Minister Maliki completed his cabinet appointments earlier today by naming a new Minister of Defense, a new Minister of Interior, and a new Minister of State for National Security. Prime Minister Maliki and the rest of the Iraqi democratic government understand the need for a fully-functioning department of defense – an Iraqi Pentagon – in order to reach full potential.”
Rep. Shuster (R-PA):
“Our progress in the War on Terror took another step forward: We took down the top terrorist leader in Iraq who organized, led and recruited for al-Qaeda, and brought him to justice. Zarqawi’s death will not end the killing and bloodshed, but it is another significant milestone in the War on Terror’s battlefield in Iraq. Zarqawi’s vision for Iraq did not include democracy or the freedoms Iraqis are building today. Instead he wanted a Saddam-style dictatorship that suppressed its people, plotted against the United States and, of course, had him, Zarqawi, as the tyrannical dictator.
“This could not prove more clearly that we are making progress; but the same talking heads in the media who said the problem was we couldn’t catch Zarqawi are now casting doubt on this achievement. This won’t change things overnight; but without question it is a blow to the al-Qaeda terror cell in Iraq and another step forward for U.S. and Iraqi troops.”
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX):
“Today’s announcement that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq is a very positive development in our effort to help the Iraqi people secure their country as democracy takes hold. After visiting Iraq just last week, it is clear to me that our military men and women are focused on executing their mission in Iraq and I am confident that they will achieve victory on our behalf.
“With all that has been accomplished, it is important to remember that the Global War on Terror is bigger than one or two individuals. While some might prefer a timetable-driven withdrawal, even after being presented with another positive milestone, we must honor our commitment to democracy in the Middle East. Al-Zarqawi made a commitment to fight to the death in Iraq and I am proud that our soldiers helped him fulfill that commitment. His death proves once again that Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror and that is why we must make our stand here and now.”