BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi police have found a decapitated body in an orange jumpsuit on the banks of the Tigris River (search) in northern Iraq, police said Thursday, while Bulgaria said a headless body found last week has been identified as a Bulgarian truck driver who had been taken captive.
The identity of the body discovered Wednesday night in Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad, was not immediately clear, police said.
The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry said they had no information on the recent discovery. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry confirmed that a decapitated body was found.
Taha Abdullah, a police official in Beiji, told The Associated Press that alongside the body found Wednesday was a head in a sack. "U.S. troops took the body to a hospital in Tikrit," Abdullah said.
Witnesses reported seeing a headless body in an orange jumpsuit at a hospital in Tikrit on Thursday.
Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry also said Thursday that the body found last week in the same area and also wearing an orange jumpsuit was that of Georgi Lazov.
A group affiliated with Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) said on July 14 that it had killed a Bulgarian hostage. Video broadcast on Al-Jazeera showed one of two Bulgarian hostages, later identified as Georgi Lazov, kneeling before three masked men.
The fate of a second Bulgarian hostage kidnapped near the northern city of Mosul remained unknown.
"The fingerprints taken from the body found on July 15 match with those of Georgi Lazov," Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Victoria Melamed said.
Melamed said there was no information about the identity of the second body found.
Lazov, 30, and Ivaylo Kepov, 32, were kidnapped June 29 as they were driving trucks loaded with used cars to Mosul.
The men's wives had appealed to the kidnappers to show mercy for their husbands, who took the risky but well-paid jobs in Iraq out of financial need.
Bulgaria, which joined NATO this year, has a 480-member infantry battalion serving in central Iraq.
The country lost five soldiers in a homicide attack against its base in December. In April, a sixth Bulgarian was killed in a skirmish with insurgents.
The government has said it will not withdraw its troops despite the killing of the hostage.