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Iraq video shows 'hostage deaths'


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Iraq video shows 'hostage deaths'

A video has been released apparently showing the killing of two hostages in Iraq - an Iraqi businessman resident in Italy and a Turkish man.

The Italian foreign ministry confirmed that Ayad Wali had been killed.

Separate reports say that two Indonesian women seized with eight other hostages last week have been released.

The women were held by a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq, which is also holding two French journalists.

They were handed to the United Arab Emirates embassy in Iraq, which said they would be passed on to the Red Cross.

Correspondents said Istiqomah binti Misnad and Novitasari binti Sugito, both from East Java province, appeared in shock after their ordeal.

They were kidnapped en route to Iraq from Jordan, along with two Lebanese contracted to work for an Iraqi electronics company and six Iraqis.

"They took us when we were on the road from Amman. They put us in a cell but I don't know near which city it was.

"I was scared but they did us no harm and treated us well. Then they decided to release us," Ms Sugito told the French news agency, AFP.

Brother angered

My brother was probably considered a second-class hostage

Emad Wali, brother of Ayad Wali

The brother of the Italy-based businessman accused the Italian authorities of not doing enough to secure his release.

"My brother was probably considered a second-class hostage," La Repubblica newspaper quoted Emad Wali as saying.

The plight of Ayad Wali, who had an Italian wife, and had lived in Italy for 20 years, got scant media coverage after he was first seized on 31 August.

By contrast, Italy was transfixed by the tale of two female Italian aid workers released by their Iraqi abductors last week after three weeks in captivity.

The government has denied it paid a ransom for Simona Toretta and Simona Pari, though one senior politician belonging to a party in the coalition government said he believed a sum of $1m had been paid.

The Italian foreign ministry said it had activated all channels to secure Ayad Wali's release and had remained constantly in touch with his family.

It added that Foreign Minister Franco Frattini had voiced his deepest sorrow over the killing.

Spying 'confession'

In the video shown by Al-Jazeera TV and sent to Western news agencies, a group calling itself the Abu-Bakr al-Siddiq Salafist Brigades accused the men of being spies.

Wali is seen saying that he had been working for Israeli, Turkish and Iranian intelligence agents in Iraq.

His fellow hostage, a Turkish national named as Yalmaz Dabja, told the camera he too was a spy.

Both men were then shown apparently being shot dead by two of a group of five masked militants standing over them.

Emad Wali said his brother was not involved in espionage and had gone to Iraq to export Italian-made goods.

Several foreigners are still being held hostage by different groups in Iraq - among them, British engineer Kenneth Bigley.

The two French hostages held by the Islamic Army of Iraq are journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.

The group had originally said it would free the two Indonesian women only if Indonesia released Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, an Islamic cleric detained on suspicion of terrorism.

However, the Indonesian authorities and Mr Ba'asyir had both said they would not accept such an exchange.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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