Julie Stahl | Jerusalem Bureau Chief | Thursday, June 8, 2006
"The situation in Iraq is very complicated," said Hamas spokesman Ghazy Hamad. "The main problem is the occupation of Iraq."
Killing Zarqawi will "increase Americans' enemies in Iraq" and "will not stop the resistance," Hamad said by telephone. He used the same word for "resistance" that Hamas uses to describe its own suicide bombings and terror attacks.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced on Thursday that Zarqawi and some of his associates had been killed in a Coalition-led air strike on a safe house north of Baghdad.
A commentator for the Arab television network al Jazeera said Zarqawi's death would not weaken al Qaeda.
"Jihadists will increase their operations in Iraq. The more the organization is repressed, the more it will produce jihadists," Abdelbari Atwan was quoted as saying by independent terrorism expert Walid Phares.
In his hometown of Zarqa, Jordan, Zarqawi's brother said the family had anticipated for a long time that "he would be martyred."
Following the triple hotel bombing in Amman, his family swore allegiance to King Abdullah II and said it had severed relations with Zarqawi.
On Thursday, Zarqawi's brother-in-law Abu Qudama said the family was not sad about his death but happy "because he's a martyr and he's now in heaven."
In Afghanistan, once the cradle of al Qaeda, President Hamid Karzai praised Zarqawi's death as a "significant step" in the war against terrorism.
"Zarqawi's death is not the end of terrorism in the world, but a significant step in ridding the world of the menace of terrorism," Karzai said in a statement. "This success should encourage us all, both in the Muslim world and beyond, to continue and step up our common fight against terrorism."
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