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UPDATED: 11:00, May 04, 2007
U.S. says no information on death of top al-Qaida leader
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The U.S. military said Thursday it has no information about the death of Abu Umer al-Baghdadi, a top leader of al-Qaida in Iraq and head of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, who was reportedly killed in a western Baghdad neighborhood.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, U.S. top military spokesman, said the head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an insurgent umbrella organization, could not be confirmed.

"We have nobody in our possession or know of anybody that does, alive or dead, that is going through any kind of testing or analysis at this point," he said.

However, Caldwell said that Muharib Abdullah Latif al-Jubouri, al-Qaida's senior minister of information, was killed north of Baghdad on Tuesday.

"We have killed him in west of Taji area on the first day of May," Caldwell told a news conference, referring to a town some 30 km north of Baghdad.

He said that killing Jubouri, who has been accused of kidnapping and killing of foreign nationals in Iraq, is significant. Jubouri's body had been identified though DNA tests, he said.

Caldwell said the U.S. military had been conducting numerous operations against al-Qaida in Iraq over the last six days, which led to a conflicting reports that Abu Umer al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, had been killed in fighting.

His comments came after the Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdul Karim Khalaf said that Baghdadi has been killed and the Iraqi official television, Iraqia, showed pictures of his body inside a wooden coffin. The body's head was badly swollen and bruised.

"Abu Umer al-Baghdadi was killed in Ghazaliyah and his body is under control of the Interior Ministry. His body has been identified," Khalaf said.

Earlier in the day, a source from Salahudin province told Xinhua that Muharib Muhammad Abdullah, also known as Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi, is the head of al-Qaida media office.

But al-Iraqi was slaughtered with a knife by militants from the " Islamic Army in Iraq," a Sunni insurgent group, on Wednesday afternoon in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Ghazaliyah, the source added.

Some Sunni insurgents in Iraq are reportedly angered by al- Qaida's large-scale attacks against Iraqi population.

Earlier, the Iraqi government and the U.S. military said they were probing reports on the death of Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

Source: Xinhua

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