A senior Iraqi official stated Thursday that the leader of an al-Qaeda front group had been killed in a clash with Iraqi security forces north of Baghdad.
Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal of the Interior Ministry said Abu Omar al-Baghdadi died Wednesday night in a battle with security forces north of Baghdad. Al-Baghdadi leads the Islamic State of Iraq, which includes al-Qaeda and seven smaller groups.
According to Kamel, al-Baghdadi's body was in Iraqi custody and would undergo DNA testing.
It was the second time this week that the Iraqis have reported the alleged death of a major al-Qaeda figure. The U.S. military has urged caution in both cases. "We'll go back and take a look at it as we always do when these reports come out," military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said Thursday, according to the AP.
In March, the Iraqi military announced al-Baghdadi had been captured in a raid west of Baghdad and had confessed to his identity. The Iraqis later acknowledged the report was wrong.