Eleven days after three American soldiers were abducted following an Al Qaeda-led ambush, three bodies believed to be those of U.S. soldiers have been found in and near the Triangle of Death.
Iraqi police found the body of a man wearing what appear to be U.S. military trousers and boots who has a tattoo on his left arm floating in the Euphrates River. An Iraqi official said he was one of the three soldiers. Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that two other bodies showing signs of torture also have been found.The man found in the Euphrates had been shot in the head and torso, Babil police Capt. Muthana Khalid said. He said Iraqi police turned the body over the U.S. forces.Said Major Webster Wright, an American public affairs officer:
"We are in possession of the body. We have not identified the body. We will give the truth to the families first."To limit the chance of rumors and information being sent back the U.S., military bases in the area have been put on an Internet blackout, preventing e-mail messages from being sent.
The discovery of the body in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad in Babil Province, came as U.S. and Iraqi forces continued their massive search for the three soldiers abducted May 12 in an ambush on their patrol near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad in the Triangle of Death.
Meanwhile, there were reports that Iraqi police forces in
A police source told the Iraqi news agency VOI:
"Two bodies in
uniform were found by U.S. police forces near al-Furat river. They bore signs of torture. Babel
“The police handed the bodies to the
army and cordoned off the area." U.S.
General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has said he believed at least two of the missing soldiers were alive, an assertion that was reiterated by military officials speaking to a CNN reporter on
"I choose to remain positive but, with each passing day with no evidence of life, the likelihood of soldiers being found alive is less."
The missing soldiers are Specialist Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of
Since practically the outset of the war, insurgents have targeted military vehicles with explosive devices planted along major roads that could handle the weight of the vehicles. But ever improvising to stay ahead of their pursuers, they are placing an increasing number of the devices on back roads and footpaths as
Since September alone, 42 soldiers from the 10th have been killed in combat, including 14 on foot patrols.
As Damien Cave of The New York Times reports from Mahmudiya, the ongoing search has upped the ante:
"The ground exploded under an ashen sky at dawn. Dust, dirt, blood and military equipment filled the air, clearing after several seconds to reveal a frenzied scene of horror.
"Where Sergeant Justin Wisniewski, 22, had just been standing there was now a crater about a meter and a half, or five feet, wide and a meter deep. His body lay nearby. The wounded lay scattered around him. . . .
"Slowly, the reality of the threat set in: the fields they had been crossing on foot for months might now be as dangerous as the roads they had learned to avoid. What they had just witnessed - a dismounted improvised explosive device, a homemade land mine - could be anywhere.
"It was the third bomb planted away from a road that the unit had discovered that week, with the other two wounding some Iraqi soldiers and killing a cow."
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a
An Iraqi army intelligence officer, who said he helped interrogate two suspects detained in recent days in Mahmoudiya, said they confessed to participating in the raid.
They said 13 insurgents conducted the surprise attack and then escaped in two groups. The leader of the group, along with some gunmen, took the kidnapped soldiers to an unknown destination, he said.
He added that the two detainees gave interrogators the hiding place for weapons used in the ambush and
Tuesday, May 22: Ambush Victims Come Home For Burial
Monday, May 21: Hopes Grow Slimmer
Sunday, May 20: A Flicker of Hope But the Trail Goes Cold
Saturday, May 19: The Triangle of Death Up Close
Friday, May 18: Who Are the Dead and Missing Men?
Thursday, May 17: Has the Search Impacted on the Surge?
Wednesday, May 16: Anatomy of An Abduction & Search