U.S. names dead al-Qaida figure
A spokesman says there was a misunderstanding about his identity.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 4, 2007
BAGHDAD - U.S.-led forces killed a top al-Qaida in Iraq figure linked to the kidnappings of a Christian Science Monitor reporter and other Westerners, the military said Thursday as mourners gathered at the slain terrorist's home in a Sunni insurgent stronghold.
The U.S. Embassy, meanwhile, said a rocket attack on the Green Zone killed four Asian contractors Wednesday, the third straight day that extremists fired rockets or mortars at the U.S.-controlled area. Two contractors from India, one from the Philippines and one from Nepal were killed.
At least 52 people were killed or found dead Thursday.
The announcement of the death of al-Qaida propagandist Muharib Abdul-Latif al-Jubouri came after days of conflicting reports from the Iraqi government that the top leaders of the terror group and its front organization - the Islamic State of Iraq - had been killed.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the chief spokesman, said the military did not have the bodies of al-Qaida boss Abu Ayyub al-Masri or Islamic State leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and did not know "of anybody that does."
Caldwell said the confusion apparently stemmed from misunderstandings among Iraqi security forces. But he played down implications that it was a symptom of a broader problem of communication between U.S. and Iraqi forces, saying instead it showed that the Iraqis were doing their jobs.
"They at least knew that they had somebody who was very significant, " he said.
Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Kareem Khalaf confirmed Thursday that Jubouri was dead, but he added that Jubouri was also known as Baghdadi. Caldwell questioned whether Baghdadi "even exists."
The Islamic State of Iraq confirmed in an Internet statement that Jubouri, whom it called its official spokesman, had been killed. It denied the deaths of Baghdadi and Masri. Mourners gathered Thursday at Jubouri's house in Duluiyah, police said.
Jubouri was killed early Tuesday, Caldwell said. The body was identified by photos and DNA testing, he said.
Jubouri was believed to have been deeply involved in the kidnapping of Jill Carroll, the Christian Science Monitor reporter who was released unharmed, and slain Virginia peace activist Tom Fox, among others. But the Monitor reported that Carroll did not recognize a photo of Jubouri.
Information from the Washington Post and New York Times was used in this report.
- President Bush's top aides sat down with Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss the Iraq war. The two sides met for 45 minutes, then agreed to meet again early next week.
- Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., are drafting legislation that would terminate congressional approval for the war on Oct. 11, they said Thursday.
- Saudi Arabia said Thursday it is still negotiating with Iraq over writing off billions of dollars owed it by the war-torn country, and major creditors Kuwait and Russia failed to offer immediate debt relief, a key goal of a blueprint launched Thursday to stabilize Iraq. The absence of major commitments to reduce Iraq's debt was a disappointment at a regional conference on Iraq.
- Attacks in Iraq involving explosively formed projectiles that U.S. officials say are made in Iran hit a record of 65 in April, said Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, who oversees day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq. The previous record was 62 attacks in December.