So as the whole world knows by now, No. 1 terrorist suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was found and killed in an airstrike Wednesday night. Here's how we, the media, found out.
At about 10am I received a call from a military public affairs officer, saying there was going to be a major announcement by the Prime Minister and we needed to be at the Baghdad Convention Center by 10:30am. Well, that was impossible for me because it takes about an hour for me to get there on a good day because of the horrendous Baghdad traffic. So I politely declined. Besides, we had all been expecting an announcement, which we all had assumed was the news of the new appointments for the posts of IRaqi Defense Minister, Interior Minister and Domestic Security (Iraqi equivelent of Homeland Defense).
Fast forward an hour and suddenly I start hearing "chatter". There's a rumor that al-Zarqawi has been found. by about 11:15am, the TV networks had confirmed the news that Zarqawi was dead. From then, it was a nonstop work day. And believe you me, it's not easy when the entire media universe is chasing the same story! Wrote 3 pieces, went to bed finally at 3am. Today is Friday, the Muslim day of prayer and no work day. Slept until 10:30. Woo hoo.
Today, the military ordered a curfew and halt to all road traffic in Baghdad to prevent any retaliatory attacks by Zarqawi's band of crazies. You should have seen the city. Normally Baghdad is a bustling chaotic smog-filled scene of humanity. Cars, busses, mopeds, donkey carts, pedestrians. Today, Baghdad was a ghost town. The only sounds were Army Black Hawk helicopters and the calls to prayer by imams at mosques around the city. But the curfew worked. Not a single car bomb today.
Tomorrow, back to work.