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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 18:04 UK

Missing US Iraq troops found dead

Undated file photo released by the US army of Alex Jimenez
The Pentagon gave few details about how Spc Jimenez met his fate

The bodies of two US soldiers missing in Iraq for more than a year have been found, the US military has confirmed.

Spc Alex Jimenez and Pte Byron Fouty had been listed as missing since they were seized in an ambush in May 2007 in an area south of Baghdad.

The body of a third soldier, Pte Joseph Anzack Jr, was found in the Euphrates river a short time after the attack.

The Islamic State of Iraq, a group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq, had released a video saying it killed all three men.

The bodies of the two men were found on Wednesday and flown to the US on Thursday for identification.

A statement from the Pentagon gave no information about when and how the soldiers might have been killed or where their bodies were found.

The Pentagon usually waits 24 hours after notifying soldiers' next of kin before making a public announcement.

Dental records

The parent's of Spc Jimenez, 25, of Massachusetts, and Pte Fouty, 19, of Michigan, had earlier said that uniformed military officials had visited their homes on Thursday to inform them of their sons' deaths.

The bodies were identified through dental records, the parents said.

Undated file photo of Pte Byron Fouty in Iraq
Pte Fouty's stepfather said his death "was not in vain"

Pte Fouty's stepfather, Gordon Dibler, said the military told him the remains of both soldiers were found in the village of Jurf as Sakhr, south of Baghdad, Associated Press news agency reported.

Spc Jimenez's father, Ramon, told AP that the news had "shattered all hope" the family had to "see Alex walk home on his own".

"Byron went to Iraq to help people who couldn't help themselves," said Mr Dibler. "I know their sacrifice was not for nothing. It was not in vain."

The US military offered rewards of up to $200,000 (101,000) for information leading to the return of the three soldiers, who vanished after the 12 May attack on two Humvees near Mahmudiya.

For days after the ambush, thousands of US and Iraqi troops searched the area, known as the "triangle of death" because attacks by insurgents were so common.

Four other US soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter also died in the attack.


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