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Lottie

Group Threatens To Kill Hostages...

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Militants have threatened to kill three Western hostages unless all female Iraqi prisoners are set free, according to a video shown by al-Jazeera TV.

The three men, who were kidnapped in Baghdad this week, appear blindfolded on the video with a masked gunman.

The station said they were being held by followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The group says the US authorities have 48 hours to release Iraqi women prisoners held in two Iraqi prisons or it will kill the hostages.

It is not clear when the video was made or how it came into al-Jazeera's possession.

The three men - Briton Kenneth Bigley, and his US colleagues Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong - were abducted at dawn on Thursday from a house they shared in the capital.

In the video shown by the Qatar-based satellite TV channel , the hostages, sitting in front of a masked gunman, appear to be giving details of who they are while their abductors' demands are made.

They had been working as engineers for a building contracting firm based in the United Arab Emirates.

All three men's families have already appealed for their safe release.

The US embassy said it had a team assigned to the case and the UK Foreign Office said all efforts were being made to find Mr Bigley.

Fighters waging a 17-month insurgency in Iraq have kidnapped more than 100 foreigners in an effort to destabilise the interim government and drive foreigners from the country.

The three men's kidnapping is the latest in a string of high-profile abductions of Westerners in Iraq.

Two French journalists were abducted almost a month ago and two female Italian aid workers, along with two of their Iraqi colleagues, were grabbed from their offices on 7 September.

Militant group

The group said to be holding the hostages, Tawheed Wal-Jihad (Unification and Holy War), wants Iraqi women in prisons at Abu Ghraib, near Baghdad, and Umm Qasr, in the south of the country, to be released.

The US government has said it holds only two women in Iraq - high-level detainees who are understood to have been part of Saddam Hussein's regime.

One of them is Rihab Rashid Taha - the woman dubbed Dr Germ for her role in developing Iraqi biological weapons, says the BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad.

The video broadcast on Saturday is the first indication of who might have abducted the three men.

Tawheed Wal-Jihad is led by Abu Musab Zarqawi, an ally of al-Qaeda who the Americans say is behind much of the violence in Iraq.

The US has offered a $25m reward for his capture.

The group has claimed responsibility for many attacks in Iraq, including the kidnapping of foreign workers and suicide bombings that have killed Iraqi officials.

Source

Please not again!! crying.gifdisgust.gif

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We need to get people out of the country that are not military. It is ridiculous that there are people there that are not citizens of Iraq or soldiers.

There is no need to add the the kidnappers fodder at this point.

Furthermore we need to continue to use airstrikes against the suspected terrorist hangouts...heck, leave our boys(and girls) back on base drinking a soda while an f-16 does the work of clearing the terrorist hideouts...

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Yes, fluffy... they could do that... except that a lot of people will be mad because its not precise enough.

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also these foreigners are integral in rebuilding iraq

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UK 'working to free Iraq hostage'

Tony Blair says everything possible is being done to secure the release of a UK civil engineer kidnapped in Iraq.

Militants holding Kenneth Bigley and two Americans threatened to kill them unless women held in Iraqi jails were released, in a video shown on Saturday.

"We are monitoring the situation, we are doing everything we can," said Mr Blair after the ultimatum was broadcast.

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Iraq, warning Britons risk being kidnapped.

Gunmen seized Mr Bigley with Americans Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong on Thursday, from a house in Baghdad's Mansour neighbourhood.

In a video aired by Arab TV channel al-Jazeera on Saturday morning, the abductors threatened to kill the hostages within 48 hours if the US did not release all women currently detained in the Abu Ghraib and Umm Qasr jails.

Mr Blair, who is due to meet interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi for talks in Downing Street on Sunday, said every effort was being made to secure Mr Bigley's release.

He added he did not want to say more for the sake of the hostage.

Mr Bigley, originally from the Liverpool area, is understood to be 62 and is married with one child.

The video shows the three hostages, who are sat down and blindfolded, identify themselves and describe their jobs.

Behind them, a masked militant reads out the kidnappers' ultimatum.

He claims responsibility for the abduction on behalf of the Tawhid and Jihad (Unification and Holy War) Group, led by al-Qaeda militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

His group is believed to have carried out several attacks and kidnappings in recent months, including that of American contractor Nick Berg who was beheaded on video.

'Devastated'

According to reports, Mr Bigley had told neighbours in Baghdad he was planning to retire to Thailand with his Thai wife.

His family said in a statement: "We were devastated to find Ken had been taken, and are still struggling to come to terms with what is happening.

"It's hard to understand why Ken would be targeted... but we would appeal to those who have taken him to please return him safely to us."

The kidnapped men, who worked for Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services - a Middle East-based general services and construction contractor - lived together in the walled-off two-storey home.

The Briton's family added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of his two colleagues too, who must share our distress."

More than 100 foreigners have been abducted by insurgents in Iraq over the past 17 months, in a bid to destabilise the interim government and drive foreign troops from the country.

The latest kidnappings brings the number currently held to 19.

It follows the abduction of two female Italian aid workers last week, and two French journalists on 20 August.

In August, UK journalist James Brandon was released by kidnappers a day after being abducted from a hotel in Basra.

British Muslim groups have condemned the kidnappings and called for the immediate release of the hostages.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3669538.stm

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what this means is tony is sitting around sipping beer. XD

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British Muslim groups have condemned the kidnappings and called for the immediate release of the hostages.

Well this is a good thing....if they really mean it.

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Probably do, don't want a backlash

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And on it goes, will it ever end?!

The situations in Iraq just seems to get worse and worse!

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Yeah, we'll probably still be there in 20 years time.

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Yeah, we'll probably still be there in 20 years time.

272290[/snapback]

That may not be such an exaggeration Talon. We will have to see how the next elections go and how the country begins to take care of itself over the next year, but this could easily turn into a long term money pit of an attempt to install a democracy.

As I have said in other threads, there should not be a single aid worker there yet, regardless of what bush says, major combat is not over and we are still in the midst of a major war which leaves no room whatsoever for aid workers.

Not until the fighting is over which will be one very long time.

Shall we start another thread to discuss the possibility of a draft again?

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this could easily turn into a long term money pit of an attempt to install a democracy.

This is so much more than an attempt to install a democracy. We are fighting terrorists. And these terrorists we are fighting are not regular folk who became disenchanted with The USA over Iraq and decided to become terrorists. They were terrorists before hand. We are not breeding terrorism. We are fighting terrorism. In particularly we are fighting Iran...in Iraq. Soon however, we will be fighting Iran in Iran and when we do I think we shall all be amazed to see how almost effortlessly the transistions taking place are met with success.

As I have mentioned before, it does little good to protect your children by killing the huge wasp nest on the eave, if you ignore the huge yellow jacket nest just around the corner on the next eave. Take out all of the threats....then your children will be safe. We need to clean up Iran and clean up Syria. If we succeed...and we will...in freeing the enslaved people of Iran and Syria, I believe we will also see a shift in the politics of Hamas and Hasbala.

At any rate, please everyone keep in mind that while we discuss the pros and cons of it all, brave men and women from all over the world are over there in harms way. Just keeping it in perspective. original.gif

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Shall we start another thread to discuss the possibility of a draft again?

Didn't the last one get locked? huh.giflaugh.gif Oh yeah, that was the one I thought you were so good in, I PMed you on how great it was and we got talking thumbsup.gif

As I have said in other threads, there should not be a single aid worker there yet, regardless of what bush says, major combat is not over and we are still in the midst of a major war which leaves no room whatsoever for aid workers.

Yeah its a war-zone, while they're at it they may want a curfew in certain areas. If the continue to persist to pour aid workers in there they should only travel with the military in LARGE numbers.

Edited by Talon S.

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I don't think those guys are going to come out of this alive and their families probably know that but still we must always hope for the best.

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Hostages have been released before.... but yeah a lot have died, and this does look grim for them.

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I don't think those guys are going to come out of this alive and their families probably know that but still we must always hope for the best.

272669[/snapback]

Yes that is true, unfortunately...

In response to what Bathory posted: Yes these folks are needed to rebuild Iraq, I agree 100%. I don't think we are at the point that we can do any rebuilding yet. I think we are months if not a year or more away from being able to rebuild anything in Iraq. There are many of the Iraqi engineers left that were running the water and electricity infrastructure, There are also many Iraqi medical facilities that have the staff, but not the supplies.

I vote that we give the parts and supplies need to the Iraqis to do the job themselves; our(American) supply chain is in pretty good shape and we could handle getting a hold of what is needed and passing it along to the Iraqis to do the job themselves. We are already guarding much of the critical infrastructure in the large cities...

There will be a time when the cities are safe enough to bring in extra help for the citizens of Iraq, but right now it is nowhere safe enough to do so, and in my opinion is a mistake.

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Update

Anxious wait on Western hostages

Behind-the-scenes negotiations are being held to free two Americans and a Briton threatened with beheading by their abductors in Iraq.

The wife of one of the Americans has sent a tape to Arabic TV pleading for their release. The UK foreign ministry has also made a plea for help.

But there is no word on the men as a militant-imposed deadline draws closer.

The captors, reportedly supporters of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, want all female Iraqi prisoners freed.

Washington says it has only two women detainees in custody in Iraq - biologists accused of developing weapons.

It seems inconceivable that a demand like that would be met, says the BBC's Mike Donkin in Baghdad.

In other developments:

A video posted on an Islamic militant website shows the apparent beheading of three Iraqi members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which co-operates with the Iraqi government. Its authenticity could not be verified.

Arabic TV station al-Jazeera broadcasts another tape showing 15 uniformed men - said to be Iraqi national guards - threatened with execution unless a Shia leader is released from prison within 48 hours.

Iraqi security forces conducting a raid near Nasiriya free a Jordanian civil servant who was kidnapped last month.

A roadside bomb in central Baghdad kills one Iraqi man, police say.

A car bomb near the rebel stronghold of Samarra north of Baghdad kills at least one Iraqi and wounds at least three US soldiers, the US military says.

'Simple man'

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair met his Iraqi counterpart Iyad Allawi in London on Sunday for talks that included the situation of the hostages - Briton Kenneth Bigley, and the two Americans, Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong.

"Our governments are working closely on it," Mr Blair said after the talks.

"I don't think there's anything more I can or should say at this stage," he said.

In her plea, Mr Hensley's wife, Patty, said her husband was "a simple, generous man" who was "there to help the Iraqi people".

UK foreign office spokesman Dean McLoughlin went on the Arabic television station al-Arabiya to appeal "for any information that could help us in releasing" Mr Bigley.

The group said to be holding the hostages is Tawhid and Jihad (Unification and Holy War).

In London, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said his government would not bow to the captors' demands.

Fighters waging a 17-month insurgency in Iraq have kidnapped more than 100 foreigners in an effort to destabilise the interim government and drive foreigners from the country.

They include two French journalists who were abducted almost a month ago and two female Italian aid workers, along with two of their Iraqi colleagues, who were kidnapped on 7 September.

The Italian news agency Ansa quotes Deputy Iraqi Foreign Minister Hamid al-Bayati as saying that the two aid workers may have been sold by their kidnappers to members of Mr Zarqawi's group.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3671172.stm

The wife of one of the Americans has sent a tape to Arabic TV pleading for their release.

I don't think thats going to help, actually I think its the kind of the thing they want, to scare other aid workers into leaving.

And the two Italian aid workers I think we've definately lost, apartently the group is extreme niot just in religion but also xenopobobia. sad.gif

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From BBC

Fear Grows For British Hostage

Fears are growing for the safety of a British engineer held hostage in Iraq amid reports a fellow hostage has been killed.

A website claiming to be linked to the group holding Ken Bigley and two Americans said one of the Americans had been killed.

The website carried a nine-minute video purporting to show the man being beheaded.

Earlier, Tony Blair said Britain would "stand firm" against terrorists.

Deadline passed

The US recovered the body of the man shown on the tape, naming him as Eugene Armstrong, unconfirmed reports have said.

"His body has been recovered and it's been identified," a US official told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.

A militant group loyal to a suspected al-Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said it had beheaded the hostage.

The Tawhid and Jihad (Unification and Holy War) group had set a 48-hour deadline for Iraqi women prisoners to be freed which had expired.

A statement on the website said: "The group will next behead the others".

The Foreign Office said it had no information on the report.

'No weakness'

The British Embassy in Baghdad confirmed on Monday that it was treating the deadline as having passed.

The prime minister said he and his government were "focused on doing what we can" to find Mr Bigley, who is from Liverpool.

"Of course these situations are terrible, because of what is happening and the desire of these people to kill anyone who is trying to help that country get better," he said.

His love of the area is the reason he was prepared to help in Baghdad where many others would be worried for their own safety

Philip Bigley

Brother

Leaders vow to defeat Iraq 'evil'

"But our response has not got to be to weaken. Our response has got to be to stand firm, to say - whatever the differences over the Iraq conflict - there is a clear right and wrong on these issues, and that is to be with the democrats and against the terrorists."

The three men were seized by gunmen at a house in Baghdad's Mansour district on Thursday.

Philip Bigley read a statement on Arabic television on Sunday saying his 62-year-old brother just wanted to help ordinary Iraqi people.

He said the Arab world had become Ken's "home from home" over the past 10 years.

"His love of the area is what has kept him there for so many years and is the reason he was prepared to help in Baghdad where many others would be worried for their own safety," he said.

Ken's other brother, Paul, offered to swap places with him.

I would fly to Baghdad now and exchange myself for him, that's how much I love him.

Paul Bigley

"I would fly to Baghdad now and exchange myself for him, that's how much I love him," the 54-year-old told the Sun newspaper.

"Ken is such a good guy, he is my best mate."

He called on the Iraqi authorities to free the women prisoners.

"I don't give a damn what crimes they committed, just let them out," he said.

A video released on Saturday and aired on al-Jazeera television carried the ultimatum over the hostages.

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Iraq, warning Britons risk being kidnapped.

Iraq must take control of these radical terrorists. Only the Iraqis can solve the problem of security.

Iraq's hostage-takers

Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi said after talks with Tony Blair that his government was "trying our best" to free Mr Bigley.

The kidnapped men, who worked for Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services - a Middle East-based general services and construction contractor - lived together in the walled-off two-storey home.

More than 100 foreigners have been abducted by insurgents in Iraq over the past 17 months, in an attempt to destabilise the interim government and drive foreign troops from the country.

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