Thursday, 4:30 PM
Lawrence holds out hope after Al Qaeda linked insurgents say soldiers are dead
By Russell Contreras, Globe Staff
LAWRENCE -- Standing outside the home of the father of the missing soldier, the local veterans' affairs director today implored the city to "keep hope" despite claims by a group with links to Al Qaeda that Army Specialist Alex Jimenez had been killed.
Francisco Ureña discounted claims made on a video that showed a night battle scene and offered close-ups of two identification cards. It did not show the soldiers.
"It's not credible," said Ureña, who did not offer specific evidence why the claims should not be believed.
Jimenez, 25, was one of three members of the Fourth Battalion of the 31st Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., who were believed to have been abducted May 12 during an ambush south of Baghdad. The body of one of the soldiers was found on May 23 in the Euphrates River and later identified by the US military as Private Joseph Anzack Jr., 20, of Torrance, Calif.
"The Americans sent 4,000 soldiers looking for them," said an unidentified voice on the video, which featured the logo of the media production house of the Islamic State of Iraq. "They were alive and then dead."
Wendy Luzon, a friend of the family, said she had not heard news that relatives had been notified of Jimenez’s death. Luzon said she planned to speak later today to Jimenez’s father, Ramon Jimenez, who is out of town.