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Iraq: U.S. Says Soldiers Missing As Alleged Prisoners Shown On TV

Washington, 23 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that an unspecified number of allied troops are missing as Iraqi state television and another Arabic-language television network showed some men and one woman identified as American prisoners of war.

The videotape shown on Iraqi TV and on the Arabic-language satellite television station Al-Jazeera also showed the bodies of four men.

In Washington, General Richard Myers, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was more specific: "I think there are some Americans that are missing, we think it's less than 10. Central Command is doing the investigation to find out exactly where they might be and what might be the circumstances around that." The U.S. Central Command is in charge of allied forces in Iraq.

The alleged prisoners of war had been captured in fighting near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. In the same room were the bodies of four men in what appeared to be U.S. military uniforms.

The captives' identities could not immediately be confirmed.