Could he have died around this time? Or is his death about as valuable a piece of information as the assertion by an Egyptian government organ that he is an American agent? From AFP, with thanks to Eric:
Al-Qaida’s leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead but Washington continues to use him as a bogeyman to justify a prolonged military occupation, an Iraqi Shia cleric says in an interview.
Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, the imam of the al-Kadhimiyah mosque in Baghdad, told France’s Le Monde newspaper on Friday: “I don’t think that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi exists as such. He’s simply an invention by the occupiers to divide the people.”
Al-Kalesi claimed that al-Zarqawi was killed in the Kurdish northern region of Iraq at the beginning of the US-led war on the country as he was meeting with members of the Ansar Al-Islam group affiliated to al-Qaida.
“His family in Jordan even held a ceremony after his death. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is therefore a ploy used by the Americans, an excuse to continue the occupation. It’s a pretext so they don’t leave Iraq.”
That actually places his death much longer ago than June, and Al-Kalesi’s words in general in the category of people who insist that Al-Qaeda is an invention of the American government, or that American Muslim organizations have genuinely and honestly condemned jihad terrorism.