AMMAN, Jordan, June 10 — At the time of his death, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still trying to transform his organization from one focused on the Iraqi insurgency into a global operation capable of striking far beyond Iraq's borders, intelligence experts here and in the West agree.
His recruiting efforts, according to high-ranking Jordanian security officials interviewed Saturday, were threefold: He sought volunteers to fight in Iraq and others to become suicide bombers there, but he also recruited about 300 who went to Iraq for terrorist training and sent them back to their home countries, where they await orders to carry out strikes.
There have been scattered reports that Iraq had become a training ground, but Jordan's assessment was the first to offer firm numbers.
Of a range of intelligence experts in the United States, Europe and Jordan interviewed about Mr. Zarqawi's reach, only the Jordanians offered such detail.
Counterterrorism officials in the United States said that they, too, had seen a flow of terrorists into Iraq from other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, seeking training under Mr. Zarqawi and his associates.
But they said that they believed the "bleed out" of people trained and sent home to await orders was probably significantly lower than 300.
Steven Simon, a former National Security Council staff member now at the Council on Foreign Relations, said: "My sense is that the next step might have been mobilizing his recruitment networks to attack Europeans. That's one reason I think his death makes a difference."
The Jordanians have a particularly strong intelligence focus on Mr. Zarqawi, a native of Jordan. Their security services have been following him for nearly two decades, scrutiny that strengthened after he took credit for sending suicide bombers into three Jordan hotels last November, killing dozens. King Abdullah II then authorized the creation of a new intelligence unit called "Knights of God," hoping to challenge not only Mr. Zarqawi's activities, but also his claim to be doing God's work.
Members of the new intelligence unit were dispatched into Iraq and neighboring countries and ordered on the offensive in what was more than a battle — practically a personal conflict — between Jordan's intelligence unit and Mr. Zarqawi.
The Jordanian officials agreed to speak about his work, his organization and the operation that eventually killed him on the condition they not be identified because of the covert nature of their work.
They said that they picked up Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts two months ago and were able to confirm the United States' own intelligence that located Mr. Zarqawi on the day he was killed.
They described Mr. Zarqawi as a strong organizational leader who changed routines when any of this followers were arrested, and who set up operations in Syria, Iran and Libya that funneled volunteers into Iraq.
As the insurgency became increasingly driven by Iraqis, Mr. Zarqawi expressed an interest in spreading his reach globally, in effect challenging Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri as the leader of a global terrorist war.
Authorities across Europe have identified dozens of young militant Muslim men who have either left Europe to fight in Iraq or have been stopped while planning to do so. American forces in Iraq have said at least three French nationals are among the dozens of foreign fighters they have captured there.
German authorities, meanwhile, have arrested 18 suspected members of the radical group Ansar al-Islam and the Zarqawi network since December 2004, including three Iraqis charged with plotting to assassinate Ayad Allawi during a visit to Germany last year, when he was Iraq's prime minister.
The only attacks outside Iraq known to be directed by Mr. Zarqawi were in Jordan, said an American counterterrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity because his agency does not permit him to discuss such matters on the record. Those attacks include the 2002 murder of Laurence Foley, an American diplomat; a foiled plot in 2004 to attack the United States Embassy and Jordanian intelligence headquarters; and bombings of three Amman hotels in November that killed 60 people.
"I think he really operated regionally in the Middle East," a senior French counterterrorism official said. The official, who asked not to be named in discussing intelligence, said he did not think Mr. Zarqawi's death would have a noticeable effect on the threat in Europe.
But French counterterrorism officials said they found Mr. Zarqawi's handiwork in a Chechen-trained terrorist cell in the suburbs of Paris that was broken up in December 2002. Chemicals, bomb-making materials and a chemical weapons protection suit were found in the men's possession, together with elements for a remote control detonator. The Jordanian officials said that Libya and Tunisia had recently acted against Zarqawi operations.
They said that because Mr. Zarqawi was such a strong leader, they believed Al Qaeda in Iraq would break into smaller groups that would be easier to combat. "He was a decision maker and nobody would disagree with him, one official said. "We expect that the organization will splinter and will get weaker."
But Mr. Zarqawi's international reach depended in part on amorphous factors, like his appeal to young recruits that some say has only been enhanced.
Death, some say, is exactly what his followers want, because in their understanding of Islam, nothing is more coveted than to die a martyr. "Each mujahedeen is seeking to be killed, to have Allah's satisfaction, and he is looking to have high-class status in paradise, in heaven," said Marwan Shehadeh, an Islamist activist and researcher in Jordan.
Mr. Shehadeh cited slogans proffered by the followers of Mr. Zarqawi, including two crucial ones: "Our credibility comes by our leaders being killed," and "Those of us who die, go to heaven. Those of you who die, go to hell."
Lorenzo Vidino, the author of "Al Qaeda in Europe," published last year, said he believed that Mr. Zarqawi's death did not necessarily end the threat posed by the recruitment channels he helped set up.
In April, Italian authorities uncovered a group of North Africans who had traveled to Syria to join Mr. Zarqawi's fighters in Iraq, said Mr. Vidino, who is an analyst at the Investigative Project, a Washington counterterrorism research group.
"The gatekeepers in Damascus told them, 'We don't need you in Iraq. It's better if you go to Italy and do something there,' " he said.