The video, which can be viewed below, was apparently released by the “Islamic State of Iraq,” and shows what seem to be the body of US airman Maj. Troy Gilbert, which has been missing since 2006, and the major’s identification card.
The authenticity of the 11-minute video cannot be confirmed, but it appears on a website frequently used to disseminate similar communications, and bears the hallmarks of other productions apparently released by The al-Furqan Media Institute, the media arm of the self-styled “Islamic State of Iraq.”
While the video features several other apparent scenes from Iraq, including militants who claim to be fighting the Americans, and of what are reported to be Iraqi civilian casualties of US military action, the inclusion of footage of USAF Maj. Troy Gilbert and the thorough English subtitles, clearly distinguish this communication as being targeted for an American audience.
President Bush is mentioned by name several times in the video, as the narrator urges the American audience to direct its blame at the president.
Gilbert’s F-16G crashed on November 27, 2006, approximately 20 miles north of Baghdad, the AP writes. According to a US investigation, militants reached Gilbert’s body before US forces could arrive at the scene, the AP writes. The airman was initially labeled as missing in action, but his status was later updated to dead.
The video claims that militant forces were responsible for bringing down Gilbert’s plane, but this has not been confirmed by the US military.
Militants released a video of what appeared to be the site of the plane crash in 2006, also showing what appeared to be Gilbert's body.
US officials assert a connection between the al-Qa'ida in Iraq organization and the al-Qa'ida organization nominally headed by Usama bin Ladin, presumably in areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. While the video clearly makes a symbolic link, it is still unclear what level of organizational ties the groups share.
The “Islamic State of Iraq” was proclaimed online in October 2006, as an umbrella organization for militant groups in Iraq, among them al-Qa'ida in Iraq.
The video was obtained by IraqSlogger in one complete segment, but was broken into two pieces by a YouTube.com user, presumably to facilitate uploading onto the video-sharing site.