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Iraq Transition

U.S. says terrorist in Jill Carroll kidnapping killed

Story Highlights

NEW: Carroll did not recognize photo of al-Jubouri, Christian Science Monitor says
NEW: U.S. soldier killed, two others wounded in roadside bomb attack
• U.S. has no confirmation al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri is dead
• International conference settles on five-year plan for Iraq
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. military commander said Thursday that an al Qaeda in Iraq militant believed to be involved in last year's kidnapping of journalist Jill Carroll has been killed.

He is Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri and was identified as the senior minister of information for al Qaeda in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said.

Caldwell said al-Jubouri was killed in a fight about four miles (six kilometers) west of the Taji air base north of Baghdad; the body initially was identified by photos, then confirmed by DNA testing on Wednesday.

Caldwell said al-Jubouri was connected with the 2006 kidnapping of Carroll, an American freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor held captive for nearly three months.

"Based on multiple detainee briefings, we know he was responsible for the transportation and movement of Jill Carroll from her various hiding places," Caldwell said.

Al-Jubouri also was involved in the abduction of Tom Fox, one of four men from the Chicago, Illinois-based peace group Christian Peacemaker Teams, who was found fatally shot in Baghdad in March 2006, Caldwell said.

"Muharib was also the last one known to have had personal custody of Tom Fox before his death," Caldwell said.

The U.S. general said al-Jubouri was the only top-level militant whose recent death the U.S. military could confirm.

Iraqi officials reported the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, said to be head of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization of Sunni militant groups.

Caldwell said it is not known who al-Baghdadi is or whether he exists, and Iraqis may have mistaken al-Jubouri for al-Baghdadi.

However, a Web posting purportedly from the Islamic State of Iraq acknowledged "the good news of the martyrdom" of al-Jubouri, but it said al-Baghdadi was not killed and "is among his kin, the subjects of the Islamic State of Iraq."

The Christian Science Monitor reported Thursday night that Carroll did not recognize the military's photo of al-Jubouri.

"She says the photo might be of a kidnapper whom she had taken to be a low-status guard, but couldn't be sure," the Monitor article, slated for Friday editions, said.

Earlier, Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim reacted to the news of al-Jubouri's death by praising the U.S. military's work in Iraq.

"While much remains to be done to improve conditions there, we appreciate all the U.S. military did to win Jill's safe release and continuing efforts to make Iraq a safer place," Bergenheim said.

Caldwell also said U.S. officials could not confirm reports of the death of another militant, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

On Tuesday, tribal leaders in Abu Ghraib and Falluja told the Iraqi government that al-Masri was killed in fighting.

Al-Masri is the "war minister" in the Cabinet of the Islamic State of Iraq -- which has claimed responsibility for a number of insurgent actions.

Iraqi authorities also said they can't confirm al-Masri's death, reports of which were dismissed by the Islamic State of Iraq.

A statement issued by the insurgent group said al-Masri is "safe" and "still battling the enemies of God." (Watch how al Qaeda in Iraq evolved under al-Masri Video)

Al-Masri is an Egyptian who replaced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as head of al Qaeda in Iraq after al-Zarqawi's death in a U.S. airstrike last June.

Iraq 'road map' to peace OK'd

The International Compact with Iraq, a blueprint with benchmarks and goals that involve Iraqi reforms and international lending efforts, was approved Thursday at an international conference in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"Essentially, the compact represents a road map for the next five years aimed at helping Iraq to achieve its long-term goals of economic prosperity, political stability and lasting security," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

The program involves the establishment of a "reform" program by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government that would address political, security and economic goals and secure monetary help from countries in the region and across the world.

Debt relief is a major goal of the Iraqi government, and al-Maliki urged nations to forgive Iraq's debts, totaling about $50 billion.

Also at the conference, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Syria's foreign minister, the first high-level talks between the countries in years. (Full story Video)

Other developments

  • A U.S. soldier was killed and two more were wounded when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad on Friday, a U.S. military statement said. Since the start of the war, 3,349 U.S. troops have been killed in the war; seven civilian contractors of the Defense Department also have died.
  • American soldiers discovered a girls school being built north of Baghdad had become an explosives-rigged "death trap," the U.S. military said Thursday. (Full story)
  • Operation Rat Trap, a 72-hour push against militants from April 28 and 30, resulted in the deaths of 15 militants and the detention of 95 others, Caldwell said. In April, 87 militants were killed in U.S.-led coalition operations and 465 people detained, he said.
  • A rocket attack Wednesday on Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone killed four foreign contract workers for the U.S. government, the U.S. Embassy said Thursday. An embassy statement identified the contractors as a Philippine citizen, one person from Nepal and two from India.
  • Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Abu Dsheer was hit for a third day in a row by mortar attacks. One civilian was killed in Thursday's attack, an Interior Ministry official said.
  • An imam was shot and killed by gunmen near a hospital in central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said, citing a police report.
  • Gunmen killed two civilians in Qaton in northern Baquba, a Diyala province police official said.
  • CNN's Jomana Karadsheh and Basim Mahdi contributed to this report.

    American journalist Jill Carroll was released after spending almost three months as a captive of Iraqi insurgents.


    • Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
    • Interactive: Sectarian divide


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