The U.S. military says its troops have killed a senior member of "al-Qaida in Iraq" who was involved in the kidnappings of Americans.
A U.S. military spokesman, Major General William Caldwell, said Thursday that the insurgent group's minister of information, Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri, was killed Tuesday north of Baghdad.
General Caldwell said Jubouri's body was turned over to members of his tribe. But he said Iraqi authorities then seized the body at a checkpoint.
An Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman, Brigadier General Abdul Kareem Khalaf says Iraqi forces intercepted family members transporting the body of the leader of the insurgent coalition that calls itself the "Islamic State of Iraq," Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
However, "the Islamic State of Iraq" says Baghdadi is still alive. It adds that Jubouri was its spokesman and was killed.
The U.S. military originally thought that Jubouri was involved in the kidnapping of American journalist Jill Carroll early last year. However, Carroll's employer, The Christian Science Monitor, quotes her as saying she does not recognize the photo of Jubouri released by the military. It also says that she thinks the photo might be of a kidnapper "whom she had taken to be a low-status guard."
Meanwhile, General Caldwell said Syria appears to be doing more to stop the flow of foreign fighters across its border into Iraq. He said fewer militants are crossing that border.
Earlier, the American Embassy said a rocket attack on Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone killed four contractors working for the U.S. government. The dead were one Philippine national, two Indians and a Nepalese national.