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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Missing US soldiers' IDs on video
Image of the soldiers' ID cards
The Pentagon has said the ID cards appear to be genuine
Militants in Iraq have produced a video apparently showing the ID cards of two missing US soldiers and suggesting both may have been killed in captivity.

US TV networks showed pictures from a video apparently made by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group which says it has the two soldiers.

The two soldiers, Specialist Alex Jimenez, 25, and Private Byron Fouty, 19, were seized in an ambush on 12 May.

The body of a third captured soldier was later found in the River Euphrates.

There were no still images or identifiable video footage of the two soldiers on the militant video, ABC News and CNN reported.

Instead, the film concludes with pictures of personal effects said to belong to the missing soldiers, including credit cards, a cross and cash, CNN said.

Search to continue

In a voiceover accompanying the 10 minutes of video footage, an unidentified Arabic-speaking narrator was heard to say that the two soldiers had been killed because the US continues to search for them.

We have been expecting this, knowing that it is a scare tactic by insurgent groups
Pentagon spokesman

"Fearing the occupying army will continue its searches, harming our Muslim brothers, [the Islamic State of Iraq] decided to settle the matter and announced the news of their killing to cause bitterness to God's enemies," the narrator said.

The Pentagon said the images of the two ID cards did appear to be genuine.

But an official statement said the footage contained "no definitive evidence" about whether the pair were still alive.

"We continue to search and hope that our two missing soldiers will be found alive and in good health," Brig Gen Kevin Bergner said.

The Islamic State of Iraq is an umbrella group which includes al-Qaeda in Iraq, the organisation suspected by the US of seizing the soldiers.

'Scare tactic'

The SITE Institute, a Washington-based organisation that monitors Islamist and insurgent web output, obtained the video and distributed it to news organisations.

The 10-minute film is said to be mainly made up of footage of an apparent night-time attack, and archive footage from al-Jazeera TV.

A US military spokesman told the AFP news agency the release of a video had been anticipated since the soldiers capture.

"Ever since the first statement by the Islamic State of Iraq that if we wanted to see the soldiers alive we should stop looking, we have been expecting this, knowing that it's a scare tactic by insurgent groups," Lt Col Chris Garver said.

The US has offered rewards of up to $200,000 (100,000) for the safe return of the two men.




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