Iraq's interior minister says he received credible information five days ago that wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been wounded, but said he does not know if he is dead.
Recently, reports have circulated that the militant leader had been injured. On Tuesday, a statement appeared on his al-Qaida in Iraq's website urging prayers for their wounded leader.
Meanwhile, an al-Qaida in Iraq spokesman denied another Islamist website's claim that a new deputy had been appointed to lead the group until Zarqawi recovers.
In other developments, Iraq's defense minister said 40,000 Iraqi security personnel will launch an operation next week in and around Baghdad to stop insurgents.
To the west of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi troops continued sweeping the city of Haditha. At least 10 insurgents and a U.S. Marine have been killed in that operation.
And at least 14 Iraqis were killed in other violence Thursday.
Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.