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An Iraqi insurgent umbrella group linked to al-Qaida claimed Monday it had kidnapped two US soldiers who were seized south of Baghdad.
"Your brothers in the military wing of the Mujahedeen Shura Council kidnapped the two American soldiers near Youssifiya," the group said in a statement posted on an Islamic Web site.
In addition, the al-Qaida-linked group also claimed Monday it had kidnapped four Russian diplomats and killed a fifth.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council is a grouping of several Iraqi insurgent forces, including al-Qaida in Iraq, whose former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi helped create the council in January, apparently to give an Iraqi face to his movement, made up mainly of foreign fighters.
In the statement, the council taunted US forces for failing to find the two American soldiers, who went missing Friday during an attack on their checkpoint in a Sunni district, south of Baghdad, that killed one of their comrades.
"The events reconfirm the weakness of the alleged American intelligence and its going astray in Iraq," the statement said.
"The American military has launched a campaign of raids using armor and equipment, in the region around the incident, but the army of 'the strongest nation in the world' retreated in defeat and disgrace," the statement said.
The posting could not be authenticated, but it appeared on a Web site known for publishing messages from insurgent groups in Iraq.
The US Defense Department has identified the missing men as Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Oregon.