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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Missing US soldier 'found dead'
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Iraqi police say they have found the body of one of three US soldiers missing in Iraq since 12 May.

The body was found in the Euphrates river in Musayyib, south of Baghdad. The US has not confirmed its identity.

The men disappeared after an ambush on a patrol south of Baghdad, and have been the subject of a massive search.

In separate developments, 20 Iraqis have died in a suicide bomb attack on a cafe and US forces reported the deaths of another nine service personnel.

The cafe blast, in which 15 people were also injured, was in Mandali, a town of mainly Shia Muslim Kurds near the Iranian border.

Seven of the nine US troops killed on Tuesday died in four separate roadside bomb and shooting attacks in and around the capital Baghdad. The other two were marines killed in Anbar.

Bullet wounds

The body found in the Euphrates has now been taken by US forces to check if it is indeed one of the missing men.

Iraqi police say the body discovered on Wednesday was dressed in what appeared to be US army trousers and boots, and had a tattoo on the left arm.

There were bullet wounds to the head and chest, Babil police Capt Muthana Khalid said.

The three men disappeared after an ambush on a patrol near Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in which four other US soldiers and their translator died.

About 4,000 US soldiers and 2,000 Iraqi soldiers have been involved in a massive search for the men since it was discovered that they were missing from the ambush site where the two humvees they had been travelling in were attacked.

The US military has offered rewards of up to $200,000 (100,000) for information leading to the return of the three.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of militants led by al-Qaeda, has claimed to be holding the soldiers.

In an unverified statement posted on an Islamist website, the militant group claiming to hold the soldiers told the US: "If you want them safe, do not search for them."






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