WASHINGTON – A previously unknown Iraqi group obtained two U.S. soldiers' identification cards and claimed to be holding them captive, but Pentagon officials said the soldiers were safe and had never been missing.
A statement left with the two cards at a Lebanese Broadcast Corp. office on Friday claimed the Americans were captured in attacks near Baghdad. The station broadcast close-ups of the two cards, prompting the Pentagon to investigate.
"The report is not true. Both soldiers are accounted for," said Spc. Anthony Reinoso, an Army spokesman in Iraq.
One of the soldiers, Andrew C. Peters of Indiana, Pa., lost his Pennsylvania driver's license when he was injured in a land mine explosion on Aug. 1, officials said.
Peters, 37, was in surgery Friday at Brooke Army Medical Center (search) in Texas, said Col. David Ellis, the hospital's acting commander. "He is doing very well," Ellis said.
The other card bore the name of Capt. Katherine V. Rose of the 142nd Corps Support Battalion, based at Fort Polk, La. The battalion is currently deployed in Iraq.
Rose also is safe, military officials said. The identification for Rose was not an official military ID and appeared to be a business card.
Pentagon officials said the military was investigating the incident to determine how the previously unknown group, calling itself Al-Madina al-Munawara Division (search), got the cards.
The cards and typewritten statement were left in an envelope outside the door of LBC's Baghdad office on Friday, said a news editor with the privately owned station in Beirut.
The statement said Al-Madina Al-Munawara Division was part of re-established units of the "heroic Iraqi army to liberate our dear country."
It threatened attacks against U.S. troops and soldiers sent to Iraq from other countries.
Saddam Hussein's old Republican Guard, comprising some of Iraq's most-dedicated troops, included a unit called Al-Madina al-Munawara. Literally, the name means "City of Light" in Arabic. It's also the formal name of the city of Medina (search), the second holiest city after Mecca in Saudi Arabia.