Zarqawi, Abu Musab al-

Zarqawi, Abu Musab al-

(ä`bo͞o mo͞osäb äl-zärkä`wē), 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 Ladenbin Laden, Osama or Usama
, 1957?–2011, Saudi-born leader of Al Qaeda, a terrorist organization devoted to uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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 but established his own training camp; he fled the country when the United States moved against the TalibanTaliban
or Taleban
, Islamic fundamentalist militia of Afghanistan and later Pakistan, originally consisting mainly of Sunni Pashtun religious students from Afghanistan who were educated and trained in Pakistan.
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 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 QaedaAl Qaeda
or Al Qaida
[Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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 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 StateIslamic State
(IS), Sunni Islamic militant group committed to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that would unite Muslims in a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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.

Bibliography

See J.-C. Brisard, Zarqawi: The New Face of Al Qaeda (2005); J. Warrick, Black Flags (2015).

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