Post-Zarqawi security sweep continues

The US military says it has carried out nearly 60 raids following the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    Al-Zarqawi's family hope to bury him in his hometown, Zarqa

    Some raids were carried out using information gathered from the house where al-Zarqawi was killed on Wednesday, a US military spokesman said.

    Major General William Caldwell said documents and information storage devices were found, as well as rifles and grenades, at the house near Baquba, north of Baghdad.

    At least 24 people were detained and one person was killed during the raids, he said.

    Caldwell displayed photographs of items he said were recovered during the operations including a suicide belt, passports, licence plates and guns.

    DNA tests

    The military also revealed al-Zarqawi was still alive after two 500lb bombs were dropped on his hideout.

    "He mumbled something, but it was indistinguishable and it was very short," Caldwell said.

    Asked whether al-Zarqawi was shot after US ground troops arrived at the scene, Caldwell said he could not give a definitive answer.

    The US military is still waiting for the results of DNA tests carried out by the FBI to confirm al-Zarqawi's identity.

    Family sources told the AFP news agency that al-Zarqawi's 18-month-old son was also killed in the US air strike on the home.

    'Martyr'

    The family of the Jordanian-born militant want to bury him in his hometown of Zarqa, east of the capital, Amman, a move opposed by the Jordanian authorities.

    Al-Zarqawi's brother, Sayel al-Khalayleh said: "Everybody must understand that his place must be near his family.

    "He is a martyr and should be treated as such."

    A senior Jordanian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the government would not allow Zarqawi to be buried in Jordan "under any circumstances".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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