A U.S. air strike in Iraq has killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the al-Qaida in Iraq leader blamed for years of attacks, bombings, and beheadings.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Zarqawi's death at a news conference today (Thursday), together with the U.S. military commander in Iraq, General George Casey, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
The prime minister says seven of Zarqawi's associates died with him in a "safe house" near Baquba, northeast of the capital.
General Casey says Zarqawi was betrayed by senior members of his own organization. The general says Zarqawi's identity was confirmed from fingerprints, scars and "facial recognition."
At a later U.S. military briefing, a picture of Zarqawi's body was shown. Al-Qaida in Iraq confirmed Zarqawi's death in a message posted on the Internet saying he had been "martyred."
Jordanian-born Zarqawi took an active role in video and Internet statements by his terrorist group, and he was said to have taken part personally in beheadings of hostages and other killings. He had remained at large until now despite the U.S. offer of a 25-million-dollar reward for his capture.