Pentagon: Top Zarqawi Aide Killed

U.S. Soldier over a flag and map of Iraq and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
AP / CBS
The No. 2 al Qaeda leader in Iraq was killed Sunday night, U.S. officials say. Abu Azzam, reportedly the deputy to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was shot during a house rain in Baghdad, according to Pentagon officials.

As the aide to Zarqawi, Azzam was reportedly in control of financing foreign fighters coming into Iraq, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

According to Pentagon officials coalition troops raided the house in response to a tip. When Azzam opened fire, these officials say, he was killed with troops' return fire.

What effect this will have on the insurgency remains to be seen. In the past, key Zarqawi lieutenants have been killed or captured without any decrease in the number of suicide bombings.

Also Sunday, at least 33 Iraqis were killed during a day of stepped-up violence. Gunmen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ambushed an Iraqi patrol in an eastern Baghdad slum, and U.S. forces joined a 90-minute gunbattle, killing as many as eight of the attackers in the first significant violence in the neighborhood in nearly a year. There is no word as to whether these partrols were associated with the house raid that led to the killing of Azzam.

In related developments:

  • CBS News correspondent Lara Logan reports there is a secret, ruthless cleansing of the country's towns and cities as a result of an undeclared civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites. Bodies — blindfolded, bound and executed — just appear, like the rotting corpses of 36 Sunni men that turned up in a dry riverbed south of Baghdad.

    CBS News traced 16 of those men to a single street in a Baghdad suburb, where family members showed CBS News how the killers forced their way into their homes in the middle of the night and dragged away their sons and fathers.

  • A brazen attack on a school killed five teachers. Police say gunmen disguised as police officers snatched the five Shiite teachers and their driver off a minibus leaving the school. Officials say the militants took the victims into the school and shot them in a classroom.
  • U.S. and Iraqi authorities freed 500 detainees from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison on Monday in a goodwill gesture to Sunnis ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. After a brief ceremony outside the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, the 500 freed detainees left the area on public buses. They were the first of 1,000 to be freed before Ramadan begins next week, the U.S. military said. Abu Ghraib gained international notoriety after U.S. military personnel running the prison were charged with humiliating and assaulting detainees there.
  • Three U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq Monday in two separate attacks involving roadside bombs, the military said Monday. One of the attacks occurred early in the day in western Baghdad, killing two American soldiers, the military said in a statement. The third U.S. soldier, working with the 42nd Brigade, was killed about 50 miles southeast of Baghdad, the military said.
  • The Senate would give President Bush $50 billion more for war in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a $440 billion defense spending measure a panel approved Monday. Reflecting a post-Hurricane Katrina debate about the role of the military in domestic affairs, the bill includes the defense appropriations subcommittee's opinion on when the military should get involved in natural disasters.
  • Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House. Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests. Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."
  • Prosecutors in Pfc. Lynndie England's prison abuse case portrayed her in closing arguments Monday as an eager participant with a "sick" sense of humor, while defense attorneys described her as a weak-minded pawn trying to appease a sadistic boyfriend. A jury of Army officers was to start deliberating Monday afternoon.
  • South of the capital, two separate bicycle bombings in town markets killed at least seven people and wounded dozens Sunday.
  • In Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, three mortar shells landed in a residential district. One shell hit a house, killing seven members of one family, including children, according to police Capt. Laith Muhammed.