A statement posted Sunday on an internet Web site known as a clearing-house for al-Qaida material denied recent speculation that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq is dead.
Reports that Abu Ayyub al-Masri had been killed surfaced after a raid Tuesday that killed four militants in the western Iraqi town of Haditha. Al-Masri is believed to have taken over al-Qaida in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7 in a US airstrike.
On Thursday, the US military announced it was conducting DNA tests on a slain militant to determine if he is the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. However, US and Iraqi officials said it did not appear that the militant was al-Masri, which is a pseudonym for Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.