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Kidnapped Marines Report Found to Be False

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2005 – Multinational Force Iraq officials today called claims "patently false" by al Qaeda in Iraq that two U.S. Marines were kidnapped in western Iraq.

All Marines and servicemembers attached to Multinational Force West are accounted for, officials said in a statement. It comes in response to al Qaeda claims made Oct. 1 on a Web site used by the terror group.

The al Qaeda claim reportedly appeared on one of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Web sites. The group claimed to have kidnapped two Marines and were demanding the release of all female Sunni Muslim prisoners, according to news sources.

This latest claim by the terror organization continues a pattern of deceit, officials said. They added the hoax demonstrates al Qaeda's willingness and desire to use the media to propagate its lies.

The kidnapping claim came during Operation Kabda Bil Hadid, or "Iron Fist," in the western part of the country near the Syrian border. About 1,000 Marines, soldiers and sailors from Regimental Combat Team 2 began engaging al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists west of Sadah Oct. 1.

Iron Fist, part of the larger Operation Sayaid, or "Hunter," is designed to keep al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq from operating freely in the Euphrates River Valley. It is also meant to prevent terrorists from influencing the local population through murder and intimidation, officials said.

(Based on a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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