The man behind the killing and mutilation of two U.S. soldiers died after a clash with security forces, a senior Iraqi official said Tuesday.
National security advisor Mowaffak Rubaie said Diyar Ismail Mahmoud, a Jordanian also known as Abu Afghani, died of wounds suffered in a fight with U.S.-backed Iraqi forces. He did not say when or where the clash occurred.
A U.S. military spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, confirmed Rubaie's statement but refused to elaborate on it.
The bodies of Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston and Pfc. Thomas Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., were found June 19 not far from a checkpoint on the Euphrates River south of Baghdad, where they had been seized three days earlier.
A third soldier, Spc. David J. Babineau, 25, of Springfield, Mass., was found dead at the checkpoint.
All three soldiers were with the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.