DUBAI,(Reuters) – The al Qaeda wing in Iraq denied on Friday that U.S. forces had arrested the kidnapper of Egypt”s envoy to Baghdad, who was killed by the militant group earlier this month.
On Wednesday, the U.S. military in Iraq said its forces had captured Khamis Farhan Khalaf Abd al Fahdawi, also known as Abu Seba, whom they believed was linked to the kidnapping and murder of Egyptian mission chief Ihab el Sherif.
"Their claims that the kidnapper of the Egyptian ambassador has been arrested are void, they are lies," the al Qaeda wing said in a statement posted on the Internet.
"We challenge them to show the kidnapper of the Egyptian ambassador on television. We would also like to inform you that the perpetrators of the kidnapping are safe and sound."
The U.S. military said Fahdawi was a senior al Qaeda operative and a suspect in this month”s attacks against the top envoys of Bahrain and Pakistan. He was captured on July 9 in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, they said.
Sherif, who had been expected to become the first Arab diplomat in Baghdad with the full rank of ambassador since the ousting of Saddam Hussein, was kidnapped off the streets on July 2 and later killed.