Caldwell: Have yet to ID al-Masri's body

May 3, 2007 at 5:17 PM

BAGHDAD, May 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell Thursday said he cannot yet confirm Iraqi terrorist leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed.

Speaking to reporters in Baghdad, Caldwell said coalition forces have been targeting al-Qaida in Iraq in a series of raids dubbed Operation Rat Trap. In Anbar province, he said, local leaders have made it clear al-Qaida in Iraq operatives are no longer welcome.

Caldwell said Muharib Abdul Latif, al-Qaida in Iraq's chief propagandist, was killed in a raid Tuesday but forces have yet to determine whether al-Masri was killed in internecine fighting, as reported earlier this week, and are unsure who Baghdadi is -- or if he even exists.

"I know there's been a couple announcements that somebody did kill Ayyub al-Masri," Caldwell said. "We do not have nor do we know anybody that has in their possession right now either a person alive or dead that we can do DNA analysis or photo identification on at this point. We just don't have any information or knowledge of that."

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