Al-Qaida Iraq leader said he killed troops

June 21, 2006 at 3:32 PM

BAGHDAD, June 21 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida in Iraq claims its new leader, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, personally slit the throats of two U.S. soldiers recently captured and found dead in Iraq.

The claim was allegedly written by the Sunni militant group, Mujahadeen Shura Council, on a Web site where Islamic militants post messages but has not been verified.

The bodies believed to be of 25-year-old Pfc. Thomas Lowell Tucker and 23-year-old Pfc. Kristian Menchaca were found near Baghdad Tuesday. The 101st Airborne Division privates have been missing since an attack Friday on a checkpoint in Yusifiya, where another soldier was killed, The Mirror reports.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for the U.S. military, said bodies are being taken to the United States for identification.

An Iraqi official said the found bodies suffered "barbaric" torture.

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