zarqawi 298 sky.
(photo credit: SKY)
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's older brother said Thursday that the family had anticipated the death of the notorious al-Qaida in Iraq leader for some time.
"We anticipated that he would be killed for a very long time," Sayel al-Khalayleh told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Zarqa, the poor industrial town that al-Zarqawi called home and from which he derived his name.
"We expected that he would be martyred," he said, in a low voice, signaling his grief over the death of his brother, whose real name is Ahmed Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh.
"We hope that he will join other martyrs in heaven," he added.
In Zarqa, al-Zarqawi's three sisters, all dressed in black, arrived at the one-story family home looking grief stricken. Accompanied by a man who was the husband of one, the sisters declined to talk to reporters as they entered the house.
The husband, who identified himself as Abu Qudama, said: "We're not sad that he's dead."
"To the contrary, we're happy because he's a martyr and he's now in heaven," added the man, who said he lost one of his legs fighting Russian forces in Afghanistan as part of the Islamic Mujahedein.
In front of the family house, a 13-year-old boy, who said he was al-Zarqawi's nephew, stared at a crush of reporters who had gathered there.
"I'm so sad about my uncle," said the boy, who identified himself as Omar.
He said the family heard the news of al-Zarqawi's death on Al-Jazeera satellite channel.
Other family members declined to come outside to speak to reporters, who knocked several times on their door.