Husayn Ali Alyan, about 26, from the south Lebanon town of Qalawi, was working for a Lebanese transport company in Iraq, said a source close to the victim.

He was captured along with an unknown number of colleagues on Thursday by armed men on a highway near Falluja en route to Baghdad, the source said. Earlier reports said he was captured 20 days ago along with four Iraqis.

Alyan's company was in negotiations with the kidnappers, who had demanded a ransom for their release, said the Lebanese source.

On Saturday the source told Aljazeera.net Alyan's body was found outside Baghdad along with those of the missing Iraqis. Their throats had been slit. Alyan, who was not married, had travelled to Iraq six months ago.

These Russians were among the
first foreigners taken captive

Lebanese authorities are working with Iraqi officials to repatriate the body.

Another Lebanese, Roger Haddad, was freed under unclear circumstances.

Media reports have said several Lebanese nationals are being held in captivity in Iraq but the claims could not be confirmed.

The Foreign Ministry in Beirut has said that its diplomats in Baghdad are working with their Iraqi counterparts to trace Lebanese citizen Habib Samur, who is reported missing.

Homeward bound

Meanwhile, US occupation forces are expected to release Lebanese Munah Abd Allah, a ministry source in Beirut said.

Abd Allah, detained a month and a half ago, was accused of smuggling weapons into Iraq. However, due to lack of evidence he would be released "soon", the sources said.

In related news, seven Turkish construction workers - captured earlier this week - were released on Saturday and are on their way home, said Turkish diplomats in Baghdad.