He lasted 52 minutes. And yes, the DNA tests confirm that it’s him.
Update: A further detail to set the minds of the world’s Sullivans at ease: “[Gen. Caldwell] said that Zarqawi’s body was treated with the same procedures and dignity given to Coalition dead.”
Update: “[N]o evidence of beating or any firearm injuries.”
Just to show you how hard truth is to come by in Iraq, compare this account of the “beating” in yesterday’s Times of London to today’s report in the New York Times. ToL:
Once the soldiers had established the man was not a threat, they started to kick him in the chest, said [Ali] Abbas and an Iraqi policeman also there. “They kept kicking him, shouting, ‘What’s your name?’, but the man only moaned and said nothing,” said Abbas.
Another person who identified himself as a witness to Mr. Zarqawi’s final moments, interviewed Sunday on Al Jazeera satellite network, made no mention of soldiers striking the man and suggested that American soldiers tore open his clothing in what appeared an effort to revive him.
“The Americans came afterward, they took him out of the ambulance, put him on the ground, and ripped his dishdasha,” the witness, Ali Abbas, said in the interview on Al Jazeera. “They were pressing on his chest, wanting him to speak or to respond, and they brought a bottle of water but he didn’t take it.”
Update: Here’s how Le Monde heralded the good news on Friday. Translated for Truthout, of course.
Update: According to jihadi websites, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer is the new leader of AQ in Iraq. No one seems to know who he is, although Fox notes that “al-Muhajer” means “the immigrant.” One of the knocks on Zarqawi among the bomb-belt community was that he was a foreigner and thus couldn’t claim to be acting on behalf of Iraqis the way a hometown boy might; looks like that criticism will abide.
Update: Who the hell is this guy?
Interestingly, there do not appear to be obvious references to Abu Hamza al-Muhajir in any of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s propaganda material from the last three years, and to the best of my knowledge, neither the Iraqi government nor the U.S. military has ever publicly named him as a wanted Al-Qaida member. Even the jihadi community that supports Al-Qaida was caught somewhat offguard by this announcement — many of them had simply assumed that Al-Qaida Deputy Commander Abu Abdelrahman al-Iraqi would take over in Zarqawi’s absence.