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Headless corpse in orange jumpsuit found in Iraq
Updated: 2004-07-16 02:01

A headless corpse dressed in an orange jumpsuit has been found by Iraqi police in the Tigris River and handed over to U.S. forces, but it has not yet been identified, a U.S. military spokeswoman said Thursday.

She said it was not known whether the body was that of a Bulgarian hostage killed by his captors earlier this week. A deadline for the threatened execution of a second Bulgarian hostage passed last night without news.

The body was found near Baiji, 112 miles north of Baghdad, Wednesday night.

"The body had been decapitated. It was dressed in an orange jumpsuit," the spokeswoman said.

Videotapes of foreign hostages in Iraq have often shown them wearing orange jumpsuits, which are typical of U.S. jails and associated around the world with images of Muslims detained at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A diplomat at the Bulgarian Embassy in Baghdad said he was aware that a body had been discovered, but it was not known whether it was one of the captured Bulgarians.

In Sofia, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said the government had asked for an urgent investigation to identify the body.

"At this moment we do not have a confirmation whether it is one of our compatriots," he told Bulgarian television.

Kidnappers linked to al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said a week ago they had captured Bulgarian truck drivers Georgi Lazov, 30, and Ivailo Kepov, 32, and would kill them unless U.S.-led forces released Iraqi prisoners.

Earlier this week Arabic satellite television station Al Jazeera said it had received a videotape showing the decapitation of one of the Bulgarians.

The two Bulgarians were transporting cars to the city of Mosul when they disappeared on June 27. Bulgaria said they were workers, not political people.

Bulgaria has held its ground on policy, saying its 470 troops in Iraq will stay as long as they are needed.

Several foreigners are missing in Iraq including a Filipino driver and an Egyptian.

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