Kidnappers In Iraq Release Video Of Briton




 
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Kidnappers In Iraq Release Video Of Briton
 
December 5th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Kidnappers In Iraq Release Video Of Briton


Kidnappers In Iraq Release Video Of Briton
New York Times
December 5, 2007 By Stephen Farrell
BAGHDAD, Dec. 4 — The kidnappers of five Britons abducted in May from a Finance Ministry building in Baghdad released a video of one of them on Tuesday, threatening to kill him within 10 days unless Britain withdraws its troops from Iraq.
The video, first broadcast on the satellite television channel Al Arabiya, shows a man sitting on a floor beneath a black banner reading, “The Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq.” He is flanked by masked men pointing automatic weapons at him.
“My name is Jason,” the bearded man says. “Today is Nov. 18. I have been here now 173 days, and I feel we’ve been forgotten.”
The video was the first public image of any of the hostages since their kidnapping on May 29.
The five Britons — four security contractors and a computer consultant — were seized during a raid on a Finance Ministry office in eastern Baghdad.
The videotape was accompanied by a written statement saying that the “British infidels and occupiers” had “confessed and declared their agenda that they came to steal our wealth under the fake cover they used and claimed to be advisers to the Finance Ministry.”
It said that Britain would get “only 10 days from the date of showing this hostage,” and that if it failed to leave Iraq within that time, “we will kill the hostage on the 10th day as a first warning, and we will follow that with details that you do not want.”
In June, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, told the newspaper The Times of London that he believed that the five Britons were being held by the same Iranian-backed “secret cell” of the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia loyal to the cleric Moktada al-Sadr, that is suspected of killing five American soldiers during a raid in Karbala in January.
“It is a secret cell of Jaish al-Mahdi, not all of which are under the control of Moktada al-Sadr,” General Petraeus said, using the Arabic name for the group. However, he made it clear that his information was based on an “assessment” at the time.
In London, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown criticized the video. “We condemn the publication of this video, which serves only to add to the distress of the men’s families and friends,” the spokesman told the British Press Association.
The British Foreign Office has consistently maintained a low profile in the case and sought to keep it out of the news media as much as possible, although negotiations to secure the men’s release are thought to have been under way for some time.
British military officials said Tuesday that Britain had about 5,000 troops in southern Iraq, a vast majority of whom are stationed at the main British headquarters at Basra’s international airport, and about 330 more in Baghdad and elsewhere.
British troops pulled out of the center of Basra in early September, a few months after the kidnapping, and are on track to hand over security control this month of Basra Province, the last of the four provinces under their control. They are expected to cut their numbers in Basra to 4,500 by Christmas and 2,500 by next year, if all goes according to plan.
Many Shiite militias and political factions are vying for control of Basra and southern Iraq.
Also on Tuesday, the purported leader of the Sunni insurgent group the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant group linked with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, ordered the resumption of attacks against Iraqi security forces.
In a tape recording on an Islamist Web site, the insurgent, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, said the campaign “should be based on explosives and its target should be the apostates” it described as those “wearing uniforms and all those who fight alongside the occupiers.”
Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a United States military spokesman, reiterated the American belief that Mr. Baghdadi did not exist, calling him a “fictitious character” invented to put “an Iraqi face” on Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown group that American intelligence agencies believe is led by foreigners.
 


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