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Blair: Blow to al Qaeda everywhere

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Prime Minister Tony Blair: Insurgents will continue to kill

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday he had "no illusions" that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death would end the violence in Iraq but welcomed it as a blow to al Qaeda everywhere.

"A strike against al Qaeda in Iraq is a strike against al Qaeda everywhere," he said at his monthly news conference.

But the British Prime Minister warned that the removal of the terror network's leader in Iraq would not bring an end to the insurgency there.

"We should have no illusions. We know they will continue to kill, we know there are many, many obstacles to overcome.

"But they also know that our determination to defeat them is total," he told reporters.

Blair said: "Every day we hear of the death toll through the fomenting of civil strife: a campaign of murder, and kidnapping and brutality -- all of it designed to stifle Iraqi democracy at birth, and al-Zarqawi was its most vicious prosecutor."

His death, Blair said, showed the value of international unity in support of people around the world who wish to live in freedom and democracy.

Al Qaeda had sought to foment instability in Iraq and Afghanistan because they knew that the establishment of peace and democracy there would undermine their own movement, he said.

Despite international disagreement over the war to oust Saddam Hussein, since his fall three years ago a new "struggle of a different nature" had developed, said Blair.

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, al Qaeda has taken a stand," said the Prime Minister.

"They know that if progress and democracy take root in those two previously failed and terrorized states, then their values of violence and hatred against those who disagree with them will in turn be uprooted.

"That's why they fight and why they will continue to fight very hard.

"For three years, al Qaeda have sought to murder innocent people, promote sectarian killing and wreck the democratic process in Iraq.

"This terrorism is a global movement. Their attack in Iraq has only ever been part of a wider attack that they have carried into conflicts and countries the world over.

"Indeed, there is barely a major nation in the world that has not felt the outreach of their evil.

"Defeat them in Iraq and we will defeat them everywhere.

"We need to do so armed, of course, with weapons, but also with one simple idea -- that where people want to live in freedom and be governed by democracy, they should be able to do so and the world should stand united behind them.

"In Iraq today, that idea has shown its worth."

Blair hailed the nomination Thursday of candidates to head Iraq's interior, defense and national security ministries, completing the formation of the country's democratic government.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's naming of the ministers was a sign of "a new spirit to succeed", said Blair.

"Our task, obviously, is to turn that spirit, that willingness, that desire to succeed into effective action," he said. "If we are able to do so, then we will have accomplished something that goes far beyond the borders of Iraq."

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