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Autopsy performed on al-Zarqawi

U.S. military: Cell phone helped track terrorist leader

Iraqis walk among the rubble left in the wake of the airstrike that killed al-Zarqawi and five others.


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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Acts of terror

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An autopsy was being carried out Saturday on the body of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed Wednesday in a U.S. airstrike, the U.S. military said.

Two military personnel were flown in Friday night and Saturday to conduct the autopsy on al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for Multi-National Forces-Iraq, told reporters Saturday.

The personnel are familiar with background and cultural concerns for conducting the autopsy, he said. It was expected to be completed Saturday night. The body, he said, was in a "safe location."

Caldwell told reporters for the first time Friday that al-Zarqawi, initially reported to have died instantly, survived the attack Wednesday in which an Air Force F-16 dropped two 500-pound bombs on a safehouse near Baquba where he was holding a meeting with associates.

There was a gap of 1:38 between the bombs, Caldwell said Saturday. (Timeline of the operation)

Al-Zarqawi was placed on a stretcher by arriving Iraqi police and was still alive when coalition forces arrived, some by helicopter, he said. Two coalition troops interacted with al-Zarqawi; one began administering first aid, while the second attempted to talk to him, Caldwell said Saturday. But al-Zarqawi died "very shortly thereafter, within minutes." (Watch how al-Zarqawi's final moments unfolded -- 2:27)

He said Friday al-Zarqawi mumbled something unintelligible and tried to turn away, possibly off the stretcher, before being resecured to it and dying. (Watch what new questions are being asked about al-Zarqawi's death -- 1:44)

Five others died in the airstrike, including Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman, al-Zarqawi's spiritual adviser, who died of head wounds and a massive skull fracture, Caldwell said Saturday. The total casualties included three males and three females; one of the females was a child between the ages of 5 and 7, he said.

The military had been tracking al-Rahman and watching his patterns in an effort to find al-Zarqawi, Caldwell said. Al-Rahman had just arrived at the safehouse when the bombs were launched, while al-Zarqawi had already arrived. (Watch a walk around the remnants of "safe house" 1:28)

Asked again about why military personnel cleaned the blood off al-Zarqawi's dead face before taking a photo of it, Caldwell said al-Zarqawi's injuries were "not at all minor" and reiterated there were no gunshot wounds to his body. The time stamp on the photo, he said Saturday, was incorrect. It said 6:17 p.m., but actually was taken about 7:20 p.m. (Watch for answers on medical care for al-Zarqawi -- 3:57)

Gen. George Casey, commander of multi-national forces in Iraq, was notified of the airstrike shortly before it occurred, Caldwell said.

Cell phone tracking

In an exclusive interview, an Iraqi army colonel told CNN Friday that intelligence from cell phone technology helped U.S. forces find and kill al-Zarqawi.

Col. Dhiya Tamimi said he worked with U.S. forces to monitor al-Zarqawi and his associates' cell phones, helping to lead to Wednesday night's airstrike.

Authorities also relied on intelligence from Iraqi civilians and information from al Zarqawi's terrorist network.

President Bush, appearing at a news conference Friday at Camp David, Maryland, said he phoned U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal to congratulate him on finding al-Zarqawi.

McChrystal heads one of the most secret covert special operations forces in the U.S. military, called the Joint Special Operations Command.

FBI tests DNA

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said the agency had matched the dead man's fingerprints with al-Zarqawi's records and also would do a DNA analysis. Al-Zarqawi's death was confirmed on Islamic Web sites.

The FBI said results from DNA testing would be available as soon as Monday.

A green canvas bag carried from Iraq to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, on Thursday contained three boxes of samples, officials said.

The FBI would not say if DNA from the samples would be compared with al-Zarqawi's DNA already on file -- or DNA from his family.

Allegiance to bin Laden

Al-Zarqawi, 39, gained notoriety in February 2003, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the U.N. Security Council to make his case supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Powell pointed to al-Zarqawi, then believed to have been in Baghdad, as evidence that al Qaeda had a presence in Iraq. (Watch how al-Zarqawi's kin feel about his death -- :20)

Al-Zarqawi was the leader of one of the nation's many insurgent factions. In October 2004, al-Zarqawi pledged his allegiance to al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, and renamed his group al Qaeda in Iraq. (Relief for bin Laden?)

Al Qaeda in Iraq was blamed for brazen terrorist attacks, including a 2003 suicide bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed the U.N. envoy to Iraq and 21 others, and the November bombing of three hotels in Amman, Jordan, in which 60 people died.

Al-Zarqawi is believed to have been involved in the abductions and beheadings of several Western hostages. In addition, the United States believes al-Zarqawi had appealed to al Qaeda for help in starting a civil war in Iraq and encouraged sectarian violence. (Watch how al-Zarqawi murdered his way to the most-wanted list -- 2:50)

CNN's Cal Perry, Jamie McIntyre, Barbara Starr, Henry Schuster and journalist Randa Habib contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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