A Shiite extremist group handed over a simple wooden casket containing the remains of the last U.S. soldier missing in Iraq, a prominent Iraqi lawmaker said Monday, drawing a close to a case that has anguished the American's family since his 2006 disappearance.
Shiite lawmaker Sami al-Askari, a close ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said the remains of Staff Sgt. Ahmed al-Taie were turned over last week as part of a prisoner exchange agreement between the Iraqi government and the militant group Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
The Pentagon confirmed Sunday that it had recently received remains that were verified as al-Taie's. But al-Askari's comments provide the first confirmation that Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian-backed insurgent group, was responsible for the 2006 kidnapping of al-Taie after the Iraqi-born soldier sneaked out of the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad to visit his wife and family on a Muslim holiday.