Zarqawi Updates

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jun 09, 2006 12:04 PM

He was alive when they found him and rolled off his stretcher in a futile attempt to escape after recognizing American soldiers:

Al-Zarqawi could barely speak when Iraqi police arrived at the scene of Wednesday's attack."He mumbled something, but it was indistinguishable and it was very short," U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said at a news conference.

U.S. and Polish forces arrived intending to provide unspecified medical treatment, and al-Zarqawi was put on a stretcher, Caldwell said. The terrorist "attempted to sort of turn away off the stretcher, everybody reached to insert him back. ... He died a short time later from the wounds suffered during the airstrike.

"We did in fact see him alive," he said. "There was some sort of movement he had on the stretcher, and he did die a short time later."

Via Drudge, a captured al Qaeda agent apparently gave Zarqawi up:

An Iraqi customs agent secretly working with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror cell spilled the beans on the group after he was arrested, Jordanian officials tell ABC News.

Ziad Khalaf Raja al-Karbouly was arrested by Jordanian intelligence forces last spring.

Officials say Karbouly confessed to his role in the terror cell and provided crucial information on the names of Zarqawi commanders and locations of their safe houses.

Kurtz covers the bomb heard 'round the world.

What was fascinating was the way the administration handled the media rollout yesterday, after ABC's Martha Raddatz broke the story at 2:30 a.m. The president goes before the cameras at 7:30--pretty unusual, but prime time for the morning show audience. Then the General Casey briefing, and the Rummy comments, and the Tony Snow Show, and Bush addressing his Cabinet. It was all-purpose programming that kept the cable nets busy for hours.

The Snow briefing was fascinating because he was providing a tick-tock and lots of color, and doing it on camera. Usually this is done on background in private chats with reporters, who gobble up such material for their reconstruction pieces. This guy understands how the beast behaves. (Of course, he won't be quite so voluble on bad-news days for the White House.)