The international community has reacted swiftly to the news of killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, describing the event as a severe blow to terrorism while warning that violence in Iraq will continue.
U.S. President George W Bush said in a statement at the White House that al-Zarqawi's death was a victory in the anti-terror war and a severe blow to the terrorist organization.
However, the president acknowledged terrorists and insurgents in Iraq would "carry on without him (Zarqawi)," and the sectarian violence would continue.
Bush's staunch ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair also hailed Zarqawi's death as a blow to the terror network.
"Today's announcement was very good news because a blow to al-Qaida in Iraq is a blow against al-Qaida everywhere," Blair told cabinet members.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called al-Zarqawi's death "a big defeat" for al-Qaida and urged violence to be stopped in Iraq.
"Now we are eager to work with new Iraq government, which was democratically elected, and we are eager to help them to address challenges. One of the challenges is to put an end to violence in this country," he said.
Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of Russia's Security Committee of the lower house of parliament, said that the death of al-Zarqawi would hardly change the Iraqi situation for the better.
Tensions and terrorist acts, which are perpetrated in Iraq almost every day, have gone beyond al-Qaida, and this must be taken into consideration, he said.
Afghan President HE Hamid Karzai called the elimination of al-Zarqawi a severe blow to terrorism and a major success in the war on international terrorism.
He said in a statement that "Zarqawi's death is not the end of terrorism in the world, but a significant step in ridding the world of the menace of terrorism."
Pakistan described the killing of al-Zarqawi as a "significant development," and hoped the situation in Iraq could now improve.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the killing of al-Zarqawi was "great news" for the Iraqi people, adding "not only does his death remove a cruel terrorist, but it's also a huge boost for anti-terrorist forces in Iraq".
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called the action a "step forward," and Senior Vice Foreign Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda said he hoped the news would herald a new period of stability.
Poland's Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said the killing of al-Zarqawi would improve the situation in Iraq. He also hoped following al-Zarqawi' death, that the Iraqis could witness a turning point in their drive to take over the regime during this year.
Zarqawi, with a 25 million US dollar bounty on his head, was believed to be the top leader of the al-Qaida terror group in Iraq.
American and Iraqi officials announced on Thursday the death of Zarqawi and seven of his top aides in a joint US-Iraqi raid near Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, on Wednesday evening.