A spokesman said Friday the U.S. military has no indication that the al-Qaida in Iraq leader was killed or wounded in a raid, while an Iraqi army officer said his deputy has been jailed for a week.
Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said earlier Friday that terror leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was wounded and an aide killed Thursday in a clash with Iraqi forces near Balad, north of Baghdad.
Khalaf declined to say how Iraqi forces knew al-Masri had been injured, and deputy Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Hussein Ali Kamal later said he could not confirm the information.
But spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said the U.S. military had no information to corroborate the account.
“We do not believe that he was either killed or wounded last night,” Garver said.
An Iraqi army officer also said al-Masri’s aide, identified as Abu Abdullah al-Majemaai, had been detained on Feb. 9 and remained in custody near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information, said he could not comment on al-Masri’s whereabouts.
The al-Qaida-affilated Islamic State of Iraq also denied al-Masri had come to harm.
The announcement, on a site frequently used by the terror group, carried the logo of The Islamic State of Iraq, a militant network that includes al-Qaida. Its authenticity could not be independently verified.
In the statement, the militant group said the Iraqi government was “making up such news, that have been denied even by their masters, the Americans.”