Thursday, May 24, 2007


Body of missing U.S. soldier identified

(AP) - Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops fanned out across the fields of southern Iraq in scorching temperatures Thursday as the military said it remained determined to find two missing U.S. soldiers after the body of a third was pulled from a river. The military confirmed Thursday that the body found a day earlier in the Euphrates River south of Baghdad was that of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., who had been missing since militants ambushed his unit nearly two weeks ago.
A commanding officer identified the remains recovered from the river, but DNA tests were still pending, military officials told Anzack's family. Anzack, 20, vanished along with the two other soldiers after their combat team was ambushed May 12 about 20 miles outside Baghdad. Five others, including an Iraqi, were killed in the ambush, subsequently claimed by al-Qaida.
"We can confirm that we have recovered the remains of Pfc. Anzack," Lt. Col. Josslyn Aberle, a military spokeswoman, said Thursday. Aberle denied reports that a second body had been found and was being examined to determine if it was that of another of the missing soldiers. "The reports of a second set of remains being found is a false report," she said.
Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces have been involved in the search for the soldiers ambushed and captured May 12. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said the remains, later identified as those of Anzack, were recovered by Iraqi police. Witnesses said police using civilian boats searched for other bodies on the river in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, and U.S. troops intensified their presence on a nearby bridge as helicopters flew overhead, witnesses said.
Hassan al-Jibouri, 32, said he saw the body with head wounds and whip marks on its back floating on the river Wednesday morning. He and others then alerted police. The remaining missing soldiers are Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19.

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