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Zarqawi Lived After Airstrike
The account provided by Mohammed, who said he and others at the bombing site were detained and interrogated for several hours by American forces, could not be independently confirmed. Caldwell described no interactions, spoken or physical, between U.S. soldiers and Zarqawi.
Across Iraq on Friday, relatively few violent incidents were reported. A curfew imposed on Baghdad and Diyala province -- where Zarqawi was killed -- was extended for three days.
Building on intelligence gathered during the weeks-long preparations for the strike that killed Zarqawi, U.S. forces have conducted dozens of operations in the past two days, including 17 simultaneous raids Wednesday night and 39 on Thursday. Some of them, Caldwell said, were related to what he had called a "treasure trove" of information recovered from the bombed house.
In his briefing Thursday, Caldwell showed photographs of material gathered in one of the raids, including weapons and ammunition, explosive belts, passports and Iraqi army uniforms. Insurgents have often carried out attacks wearing the uniforms of Iraq's security forces, though police officers and soldiers are also believed to have participated in some attacks.
Residents in and around the village of Hibhib, where Zarqawi was killed, said U.S. forces had raided several other houses in the vicinity Thursday night or early Friday morning, killing four people and wounding four others.
Residents of a house four miles from where Zarqawi died said U.S. soldiers, some of whom were bearded, burst in at 4:15 a.m., following a nearby barrage of what sounded like exploding mortar shells. Unlike other soldiers in the U.S. military, some Special Forces troops wear facial hair.
Ayad Abdul Hadi Hirmis al-Ibadi, 32, said the soldiers hit him with their rifles and kicked him as he lay on the ground. When his brother came to his aid, he was shot and killed, Ibadi said. His father, who was on the roof of the house, was also shot and killed, Ibadi said. His account could not be independently verified, but his home was virtually destroyed, its walls blackened and pockmarked with bullet holes, its roof riddled with large holes.
Col. Fadhil Azzawi, chief of the Hibhib police force, said it was unclear why the Ibadis' home was targeted and described the family as Shiite Muslims. Most of the insurgents linked to Zarqawi, who had called for a war against Shiites, are Sunni Arabs.
Shammari reported from Diyala province.