BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. forces left a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected Al Qaeda members died in a weekend gunfight, and the White House said it was "highly unlikely" that terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
During the intense gunbattle with suspected Al Qaeda members in Mosul on Saturday, three insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves to avoid capture, Iraqi officials said. Eleven Americans were wounded, the U.S. military said.
On Saturday, police Brig. Gen. Said Ahmed al-Jubouri said the raid was launched after a tip that top Al Qaeda operatives, possibly including al-Zarqawi, were in the two-story house.
However, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said Sunday that reports of al-Zarqawi's death were "highly unlikely and not credible."
"I don't think we got him," said U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, answering questions from reporters about whether al-Zarqawi had been killed in Mosul. Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said there was "no indication" that the terror leader had been killed.
U.S. forces said they nearly caught him in a February 2005 raid that recovered his computer.