Subscribe

ARLINGTON, Va. — Conflicting intelligence has emerged recently on whether troops kidnapped in southern Baghdad earlier this year are alive, a U.S. commander said Friday.

Spc. Alex R. Jimenez and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, both of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, were abducted after a May 12 ambush on U.S. soldiers manning a military observation post near Yusufiyah.

The body of Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., who also went missing in the attack, was found 11 days later in the Euphrates River. Four other soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in the attack, which was apparently carried out by an al-Qaida-affiliated group.

Since then, detainees and other intelligence sources have provided varying accounts of whether the missing troops are still alive, said Col. Michael Kershaw, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

“In the last week, we received one significant intelligence thread that indicated that at least they were potentially alive recently, but another that said they had been killed shortly after the attack, and we have followed both as we’ve investigated them and indeed conducted operations last night along with other coalition forces to capture and detain others who might be associated with that attack,” Kershaw said.

Kershaw did not say the results of those operations.

The 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division is nearing the end of its tour in Iraq, and Kershaw told the families of the two missing soldiers that the unit is doing everything possible to find them before going home.

“But if it’s not possible, we’re doing what we can to continue the search efforts through all other means possible,” he said.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up