June 8, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed for the beheading of foreign captives and the death of hundreds in suicide bombings, has been killed in a F-16 raid north of Baghdad.
An F-16C from the 51st FW stationed at Osan AB, Korea is releasing a pair of GBU-12 weapons over the weapon range.
The air strike was carried out by two F-16 aircraft with two 500-pound (227 kg) GBU-12 laser guided bombs hitting the Zarqawi "safe house."
US military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell also showed a videotape (see link below) of the raid during which he said F-16 fighter jets dropped the bombs on the site.
The bombing started at 1815h (1415 GMT) on Wednesday, he said.
Painstaking intelligence gathering and a tip from someone in Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network enabled U.S. forces to pinpoint his location.
"What everyone needs to understand is the strike last night did not occur in a 24-hour period. It truly was a very long, painstaking, deliberate exploitation of intelligence, information gathering, human sources, electronics, signal intelligence that was done over a period of time, many, many weeks," Caldwell said.
There were six people in the house, including a woman and a child, but only Zarqawi and Abdul-Rahman have been identified.
Seventeen more raids were conducted on other suspected hideouts for Zarqawi associates in Baghdad and its outskirts a few hours after he was killed.