U.S and Iraqi officials say the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is important, but that it will not end the insurgency in Iraq.
President Bush says U.S. forces have delivered justice to Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq. He says the killing of Zarqawi is a severe blow to the Islamic terrorist group.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Zarqawi's death will hurt the insurgency in Iraq, but that other terrorist leaders will emerge.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Zarqawi's death at a press conference early on Thursday with the U.S. military commander in Iraq, General George Casey. Mr. Maliki warned those who would follow Zarqawi's lead that "whenever there is a new al-Zarqawi, we will kill him."
U.S. and Iraqi officials say Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike Wednesday when jets dropped two 227-kilogram bombs on a "safe house" near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.
News reports say six other people were killed in the attack. They included Zarqawi's spiritual advisor in Iraq, a man identified by the U.S. military as Sheikh Abdul-Rahman.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, Major General Bill Caldwell, says by secretly trailing Abdul-Rahman through intelligence, U.S. forces were able to determine Zarqawi's whereabouts.
Major General Caldwell says military officials were certain Zarqawi was in the "safe house" at the time of the airstrike.
General Casey says Zarqawi's identity was confirmed from fingerprints, scars and "facial recognition." DNA tests are now being carried out.
Al-Qaida in Iraq confirmed Zarqawi's death in a message posted on the Internet saying he had been "martyred."
U.S. lawmakers reacting to the death of Zarqawi praised U.S. military forces and expressed hope the development could give Iraq's new government and its people a new chance for peace.
House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised American troops, and said his death and the naming of the Iraqi defense and interior ministers should hasten the day when American troops can come home.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Zarqawi's death was a blow to al-Qaida, but that there were still many obstacles to overcome in Iraq.
The Jordanian-born Zarqawi took an active role in video and Internet statements by al-Qaida. He was said to have personally taken part in a bloody campaign of beheadings of hostages and other killings.
He had remained at large despite a U.S. offer of a 25-million-dollar reward for his capture.