Both U.S. soldiers claimed as captured in Iraq are safe, Pentagon officials say

Friday, August 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Both U.S. soldiers claimed as captured by a previously unknown Iraqi group are safely in American hands and never were missing, Pentagon officials said Friday.

The group claimed to have captured two American soldiers near Baghdad in a statement released to the Lebanese Broadcast Corp.

One of the two soldiers is being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas and had lost his identification when he was injured by a land mine, military officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The other soldier also is safe in U.S. military hands, military officials said.

LBC broadcast close-ups of the cards: one in the name of Capt. Katherine V. Rose of the 142nd Corps Support Battalion from Fort Polk, La., and the other a Pennsylvania driver's license with the name Andrew C. Peters, 37. A call to the address on the driver's license was answered by a person who hung up.

Peters is the soldier being treated in Texas, and Rose also is safe, military officials said. The identification for Rose was not an official military ID and appeared to be a business card.

The 142nd Corps Support Battalion, based at Fort Polk, is currently deployed in Iraq.

Pentagon officials said the military was investigating the incident to determine how the previously unknown group got the cards.

The two cards and a typewritten statement from a group calling itself Al-Madina al-Munawara Division were left in an envelope outside the door of LBC's Baghdad office on Friday, said a news editor with the privately owned station in Beirut.

The statement claimed the two Americans were wounded and captured when an Al-Madina unit attacked a convoy west of Baghdad. It did not say when or exactly where the attack took place.

It warned British and Australian troops, as well as all other countries that may send troops to Iraq, that they will be subjected to attacks.

The statement said Al-Madina Al-Munawara Division is made up of members of the former Iraqi army under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam's old Republican Guard, comprising some of Iraq's best-equipped and most-dedicated troops, included a unit called Al-Madina al-Munawara. Literally, the name means ``City of Light'' in Arabic. It's also the formal name of the city of Medina, the second holiest city after Mecca in Saudi Arabia.