Zarqawi, Abu Musab al- ä´bo͞o mo͞osäb äl-zärkä´wē [key]
, nom de guerre of Ahmad Fadhil Nazzar al-Khalaylah, 1966–2006, Islamic terrorist leader, b. Jordan. Becoming a militant Islamist in his early 20s after several years as a mostly petty criminal, he traveled to Afghanistan in 1989 to join the mujahidin, but saw little fighting and worked as a journalist. Returning to Jordan, he was arrested (1994) for plotting against the king and jailed until 1999. In Afghanistan again by 2000, he met Osama bin Laden
but established his own training camp; he fled the country when the United States moved against the Taliban
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Zarqawi was in Iraq, possibly working with Iranian-supported Islamists, when the United States invaded, and by mid-2003 Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad, which he headed, was mounting terror attacks, including videotaped beheadings and suicide bombings, against U.S. forces and Iraqi Shiites. Responsible for deadly terror attacks in both Iraq and Jordan, Zarqawi publicly aligned himself with Al Qaeda
in 2004 and the group became known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. air strike in 2006. See also Islamic State
See J.-C. Brisard, Zarqawi: The New Face of Al Qaeda (2005); J. Warrick, Black Flags (2015).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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