BAGHDAD – The Islamic State of Iraq on Thursday confirmed in an Internet statement that its official spokesman has been killed but denied the killing of its leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
"We bring the good news today to you of the martyrdom of" Muharib Abdul-Latif al-Jubouri, said the statement posted on an Islamic Web site commonly used by the insurgents. It described the group's spokesman as the "one who fought injustice" and said that al-Jabouri was killed in an eight hour battle in bombing by U.S. forces. Four other "brother" insurgents were killed with him, it said.
The statement described the battle as having taken place Monday night.
"On midnight Monday, God's enemies tried an airdrop operation on the house where sheik al-Jubouri was staying," it said. "But he and those with him waged battle with the aircraft, vehicles and the crusade soldiers. The battle lasted more than eight hours."
After failing in their "airdrop" operation, the U.S. troops "resorted instead to air bombing which killed sheik ... al-Jubouri and those who were with him," the statement said.
It said he led an Islamic militant group called "al-Ghurabaa Company," which is Arabic for the Strangers Company, and met later with the leaders of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq.
The Shura Council subsequently announced their allegiance to the umbrella group and Al Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq, which chose al-Jubouri to be its official spokesman.
The statement sought to assure followers that the group's leader al-Baghdadi was alive and well. It gave no proof of this, nor offered insight into his whereabouts.
"Let the nation be assured that our caretaker and guardian Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, God protect him, is safe amid the people of the Islamic State of Iraq and that what media reported about him being killed has no basis of truth," it said.