The new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq killed two US soldiers who it abducted last week, an umbrella group for Iraqi insurgents said in a Web statement posted Tuesday.
The statement said the two soldiers were "slaughtered" suggesting they had been beheaded by Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. The Arabic word used in the statement, "nahr," is used for the slaughtering of sheep by cutting the throat and has been used in past statements to refer to beheadings.
The authenticity of the claim of responsiblity could not be confirmed. It was posted on an Islamic militant Web forum where insurgent groups regularly post statements.
If true, it would be the first act of violence attributed to al-Muhajer since he was named al-Qaida in Iraq's new leader in a June 12 Web message by the group. He succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US airstrike on June 7.