Skip to comments.Missing US soldiers' bodies found in Iraq
Posted on 06/20/2006 4:16:19 AM PDT by prairiebreeze
A senior Iraqi military official said Tuesday the bodies of two missing U.S. soldiers have been found near the town where they went missing, but the U.S. military said it could not confirm the report.
Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed said the bodies were found on a street near a power plant in the town of Youssifiyah, just south of Baghdad. U.S. Maj. Doug Powell said he could not confirm the report.
The two men went missing Friday after an attack that killed one of their comrades.
Earlier Tuesday, a parked minivan exploded in a busy outdoor market in a Baghdad slum, killing four people and wounding 16, police said.
Elsewhere, a suicide bomber wearing an explosives belt blew himself up in a home for the elderly in the southern city of Basra, killing two people and wounding three.
The minivan bombing occurred as people were shopping in the rundown district of Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite district in eastern Baghdad. Police Col. Hassan Chalob said four civilians were killed and seven cars were left charred.
The area has been targeted by attackers in the past. Bombs exploded in two markets there on March 12, killing at least 44 people.
The motive of the attack on the elderly home was unclear and an investigation was under way, police Lt. Col. Karim al-Zaida said. Two women were killed.
Tensions have been worsening in the Shiite-dominated area of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, which is about 340 miles southeast of Baghdad. Britain has about 8,000 soldiers in the city.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency there late last month, but it has failed to quell the rampant violence as rival Shiite militias fight each other for power.
Meanwhile, an al-Qaida-linked group said Monday it was holding captive two U.S. privates, one from Texas and the other from Oregon, and taunted the U.S. military for failing to find the soldiers despite a search involving more than 8,000 Iraqi and American troops.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization for a variety of insurgent factions led by al-Qaida in Iraq, offered no video, identification cards or other evidence to prove that they have the Americans. The group had vowed to seek revenge for the June 7 killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, in a U.S. airstrike.
The council also said it was responsible for the June 3 kidnapping of four Russian Embassy workers. The two separate postings could not be authenticated, but they appeared on a Web site known for publishing messages from insurgent groups in Iraq.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, when asked about the claim by the Shura Council that it was holding the soldiers, said: "We have no independent confirmation of that report."
Besides the troops, the U.S. military said Monday it has deployed fighter jets, helicopters, unmanned drones, boats and dive teams in the hunt for the soldiers, who disappeared Friday in a region south of Baghdad known as the "Triangle of Death."
Residents said the Americans slapped a 3 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew in the area and were conducting house-to-house raids, arresting anyone found not to be a permanent resident. They said U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were demanding to see each family's food ration card, which lists the number of beneficiaries, so as to single out outsiders.
Troops searching for the soldiers killed three suspected insurgents and detained 34 in fighting that also left seven U.S. servicemen wounded, said military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell.
The area is among the most dangerous in Iraq for U.S. troops and mostly populated by minority Sunni Arabs, the backbone of Iraq's 3-year-old insurgency. The two soldiers were missing after an attack on their traffic checkpoint that left one of their comrades dead.
Ahmed Khalaf Falah, a farmer, has told The Associated Press that he witnessed seven masked gunmen seize the soldiers near Youssifiyah, about 12 miles south of Baghdad.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Sunday that insurgents had taken the soldiers prisoner. "Hopefully they would be found and released as soon as possible," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there was "great concern" over the missing soldiers.
"The American military has made very clear that they are going to do everything possible ... to try and find them," she told reporters.
Kidnappings of U.S. service members have been rare since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, despite the presence of about 130,000 forces.
U.S. troops patrol only in convoys. Foot patrols, while common in parts of Iraq during 2003 and 2004, have become rare because of roadside bombs, snipers and ambushes.
The last U.S. soldier to be captured was Sgt. Keith M. Maupin of Batavia, Ohio, who was taken on April 9, 2004 after insurgents ambushed his fuel convoy. Two months later, a tape on Al-Jazeera purported to show a captive U.S. soldier shot, but the Army ruled it was inconclusive.
Six soldiers, including Pvt. Jessica Lynch, were captured in an ambush in southern Iraq in the early days of the war March 23, 2003. Lynch was rescued April 1, 2003, the others 12 days later.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council did not make threats or demands in the abduction of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., saying only that "we shall give you more details about the incident in the next few days, God willing." Spc. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Mass., was killed in the attack on the checkpoint at a canal crossing near the Euphrates River.
All three were from the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The Shura Council taunted the military by saying that it had "launched a campaign of raids using armor and equipment, in the region around the incident, but the army of 'the strongest nation in the world' retreated in defeat and disgrace."
The separate statement on the Russians demanded that Moscow withdraw from war-torn Chechnya within 48 hours and release Islamic militants from its prisons or "face the consequences."
The Russian Foreign Ministry called for their immediate release and said "the abduction of citizens of a country that is energetically helping to restore peace in Iraq" cannot be justified.
In Baghdad, where a two-day surge in violence ended a three-day lull, Nouri al-Maliki sought to regain the initiative by sending tanks, armored vehicles and thousands of army troops into the city.
In the Sunni Arab neighborhood of Azamiyah, two Iraqi tanks were deployed in the main square, a short distance away from the Grand Imam mosque, Iraq's holiest Sunni site. Iraqi armored personnel carriers and newly acquired U.S.-made Humvees were also patrolling the city's most dangerous neighborhoods on the western bank of the Tigris.
Iraqi army troops also patrolled on foot and in many areas they manned positions behind concrete barriers and sandbags.
In the troubled western Baghdad neighborhood of Jamaa, Iraqi soldiers manned checkpoints from behind concrete blast barriers to defend against suicide car bombers.
Nearly 500 detainees were released Monday as part of al-Maliki's national reconciliation effort. Most are Sunni Arabs and al-Maliki's plan to release 2,500 of them by month's end aims to reach out to the community.
In a fresh blow to the image of American troops in Iraq, the U.S. Army charged three soldiers in connection with the deaths of three Iraqi men while they were in military custody on May 9 during an operation near Thar Thar Canal in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad.
The soldiers belonged to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, the military said in its announcement Monday. At least 15 service members have been convicted on a range of charges in the deaths of Iraqi civilians since the beginning of the war.
Praying for the repose of the souls of these two young men and also the soul of the young soldier that was killed during the kidnapping.
Prayers for them and their families.
Hi there. Yes, I saw the thread you linked. I just put up the "official" news version for recording purposes.
Both of them are heroes. May God comfort their families.
Want to bet Ahmed is toast? Nice of the media to publish his name--as if the enemy does not read the f'n paper.
Prayers up for the soldiers and their families.
this has been posted about 5 times...
Throughout Iraq, our troops will be taking far too much time, trying to decide whether to defend themselves.
The insurgents must love this.
Could this be misinformation? I'd think that at least some of the gunmen dressed so as to look like as ordinary civilians.
I believe I searched prior to posting and didn't see the exact account posted.
Our guys were ambushed when they went out to investigate another incident. I believe I read about the masks earlier.
Prayers for comfort to their families.
A home for the elderly??? What is up with these maniacs? Are they totally insane? What on earth is blowing up a home for the elderly supposed to accomplish?
Thanks for the information, prairiebreeze.
This was the incident I had heard about, which is why I wondered if our men hesitated to defend themselves.
"A home for the elderly??? What is up with these maniacs? Are they totally insane?"
War criminals yes, but insane no...They know the media and the left will blame Bush and further undermine the war.
Prayers up for these two noble men and their loved ones back home.
I suppose it's meant to inflame hostilies within the Iraqi populace.
Blowing up old people. My, what brave, brave men...pfft!
yes, it was that after that attack, our guys went out looking for the perps and were ambushed.
I'm a little surprised we haven't seen this tactic before now. I'm sure our forces will adjust their protocols of searching in order to guard against this happening again.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.