Jihadist rumor: Bodies of two missing U.S. soldiers found

Headless and mutilated, of course. Supposedly they were discovered Friday, after Petraeus told the Army Times that he had reason to believe two of the men were still alive. But if they were found two days ago, why is the search for them still continuing in the Sunni triangle given the obvious risk it poses for the searchers?

Maybe they’re looking for the third soldier. The warrior’s code: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting possible corroborating evidence:

As part of its search for three missing American soldiers, the U.S. military was draining a canal Sunday after receiving a tip from local Shiite Iraqis that they saw two heads floating in the water, U.S. military officials told CNN.

So far, the search of the canal, which leads from the Euphrates River to the village of Janabi, has turned up nothing of interest to the military.

Update: Some good news on what may turn out to be a very dark day — U.S. forces have killed the man they believe was the ringleader of the raid in Karbala that killed five American soldiers in January. The name is unfamiliar to me:

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told CNN Azhar al-Dulaimi had masterminded the attack in which guerrillas posing as Americans entered a government compound in the Shi’ite holy city of Kerbala, killed a U.S. soldier and drove away with four others whom they shot and killed later.

“We found him finally Friday morning. We went in on a precision operation to capture him and in the pursuing engagement that occurred, he was killed,” Caldwell said. He did not say where Dulaimi was killed.

Adnan al-Dulaimi is a prominent Sunni MP who’s been linked to jihadists, but I doubt he’s related to this guy. The Karbala operation has long been thought to have Iranian fingerprints on it; specifically, it’s thought to have been executed by a network loyal to a breakaway wing of the Mahdi Army. Petraeus himself has identified Qais Khazali, Sadr’s former spokesman, as its leader.

Caldwell also told CNN this morning that the search for the missing soldiers is continuing. If the jihadi rumor is true, he’d probably already know about it.

Update: Meanwhile, the Brits are trying to work some of their Basra magic on the Sunni insurgency.

Middle Eastern sources said extensive talks between insurgents and British officials were under way. Some had taken place in private houses in the Kurdish north of Iraq, others outside the country, they said.

“Apart from Al-Qaeda, all the main insurgent groups took part,” claimed a Kurdish source close to the discussions. “Representatives of the groups have met with the British several times in recent months.”…

Last week Talabani claimed there were signs of a breakthrough in attempts to persuade some groups to give up violence and pursue political means.