Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced on Thursday that the most wanted insurgent in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed in a joint U.S. and Iraqi military raid north of Baghdad.
The following is a profile of Zarqawi.
Zarqawi is believed to be the top henchman of the al-Qaida terror group in Iraq.
Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadhil al-Khalayleh, was born near the Jordanian capital of Amman in 1967.
In the early 1990s, Zarqawi took up arms in Jordan in a bid to set up an Islamist state to replace Jordan's monarch. He was then put into prison for a term of 15 years in 1996 but was released three years later under a general amnesty.
In 2003, Zarqawi moved to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion and set up a militant group there.
In October 2004, Zarqawi, a Sunni Muslim, was appointed by al- Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as his deputy in Iraq. Zarqawi then changed the name of his militant group into "al-Qaida for Holy War in Iraq."
Zarqawi, with a 25 million U.S. dollars bounty on his head, was accused of being behind some of the most gruesome kidnappings and killings including beheadings in Iraq.
His group has also claimed responsibility for several terror attacks against Jordan, including the triple hotel bombing attacks on Nov. 9, 2005 in Amman which killed at least 60 people including three Iraqi suicide bombers.
Zarqawi was sentenced to death in absentia by a Jordanian military court three times.
The first sentence was made in 2002 for his plotting attacks against U.S. and Israeli targets in Jordan.
He was sentenced to death for the second time in April 2004 for attempting to assassinate U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman in 2002.
And the third death sentence came in December 2005 for his planning a failed suicide attack at a Jordanian border post with Iraq.
On April 25, 2006, Zarqawi made his first appearance on a propaganda video.
On June 1, Zarqawi called upon his followers in an audio tape purportedly from him to launch a war against Shiites in Iraq.