BAGHDAD, April 24 (UPI) -- U.S. officials in Baghdad denied reports the alleged leader of the Iraqi insurgency Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri is in custody following his capture by Iraqi forces.
The Arabic-language satellite television channel al-Arabiya reported Wednesday Iraqi forces captured a man fitting Duri's description in northern Salah ad-Din province and transferred him to U.S. custody in Baghdad.
Abdellatif Rayan, a media adviser to Multi-National Forces-Iraq, Thursday denied the claims, Voices of Iraq reported.
"We would like to affirm that we know about the media reports which noted that he has been arrested, but I confirm that (Duri) is not in the MNF hands and (we) have no reports about" his detention, Rayan said.
"At this point, we can say that he is not in coalition custody and we have no reports that he was captured by Iraqi security forces either," he added.
Press-TV based in Tehran said Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak Rubaie supported the claims made by U.S.-led forces.
"We have accurate intelligence reports which indicate that he is in Syria and he finance(s) several armed groups," he said.
An official associated with Duri's interests in Syria, Abu Mohammad, says Duri is orchestrating the Iraqi insurgency from his hideout in Damascus.
The report by al-Arabiya said military officials are conducting DNA tests on the man to determine his identity.
Duri served as a top Iraqi military commander and vice president under Saddam Hussein. Various reports suggest he suffers from leukemia.