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(photo credit: AP)
Al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was believed to have been killed in a military operation in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Iraq's foreign minister said Monday.
Hoshyar Zebari told the official Petra news agency during a visit to Moscow that Iraqi authorities were testing DNA samples from several corpses of insurgents killed in a weekend gunfight in Mosul.
"American and Iraqi forces are investigating the possibility that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's corpse is among the bodies of some terrorists who died in the special military operation in Mosul," he said.
State television carried the urgent news in a scrolling newsbar at the bottom of the screen during regular programming, suggesting that Jordanian officials likely believe the report.
No other details were immediately available.
Earlier Monday, the White House had said it was "highly unlikely" that al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
US forces sealed off a house Sunday night in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a gunfight - some by their own hands to avoid capture. A US official said Sunday that efforts were under way to determine if terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
Insurgents, meanwhile, killed an American soldier and a Marine in separate attacks over the weekend, while a British soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the south.
In Washington, a US official said the identities of the terror suspects killed was unknown. Asked if they could include al-Zarqawi, the official replied: "There are efforts under way to determine if he was killed."
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