BAGHDAD, Iraq – Two U.S. military forensic specialists finished an autopsy Sunday on the remains of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, part of the investigation to reconstruct the last minutes of his life before an American warplane bombed his hideout, the U.S. Command said.
"The autopsy is completed. However, we are not releasing results yet," Maj. William Willhoite said.
Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told "FOX News Sunday" he had not seen the autopsy results.
Meanwhile, Iran denied it helped American forces track al-Zarqawi down and kill him. The Islamic republic welcomed his death, though, because it has close ties to the Shiite parties dominating Iraq's government, which Zarqawi sought to topple.
"It is natural that we, like the Iraqi people, are happy from this occurrence," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. "This doesn't mean that we cooperated with the U.S. in getting him. We had no exchange of intelligence with the U.S. at all" on this.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad, said Saturday the decision to fly in forensic experts was made shortly after Zarqawi's death. The airstrike also killed five others, including Zarqawi's spiritual adviser, Sheik Abdul-Rahman.
"I think if we don't do a full autopsy then that might [be] irresponsible on our part," Caldwell said. "I think we sort of owe that just for this reason: How did he actually die?"
He said the U.S. government thought it was important enough "that we grabbed two people in the last 48 hours and told them pack up and move to Iraq."
He said Iraqi police reached the scene first and found the 39-year-old Zarqawi alive.
"The coalition forces arrived on the scene. The Iraqi police were there. They in fact saw a person on a stretcher. They moved to that person immediately. A medical person started immediately applying first aid to that person. Another person was trying to talk to that person, to try to identify who this was. They were trying to talk to him and ask him who he was," Caldwell said.
The airstrike killed two other men, two women and girl between the ages of 5 and 7 who were in the house.
AP footage of the scene showed a wide swath of destruction.
Debris — shoes, sandals, a woman's slip — was scattered over concrete blocks and twisted metal. Trees were ripped from their roots. Charred dresses, torn blankets, thin sponge mattresses and pillows were in the crater blasted by the bombs. A cooling unit and part of a washing machine also were in the area.
Lt. Col. Thomas Fisher of the 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Cavalry said his men showed up at the site about five minutes after the blast and cordoned it off. He said a patrol was in the area already.
"We didn't know it was Zarqawi, we just knew it was a time-sensitive target," he said at the scene early Saturday. "We suspected who it was."