More captives freed in Iraq

Two Turkish nationals and one Pakistani have been freed by Iraqi insurgents after they promised to stop working for US forces in the country.

    Murat Kizil, one of the captives shown on the videotape

    In a video aired by Al-Jazeera television, the two Turkish men were shown kneeling before three masked insurgents.

    One of the fighters read a statement saying the men were being released after having promised not to work with coalition forces again.

    "To honour the Muslim Turkish people, and upon the repentance of the two hostages, and their pledge not to do such a thing again.....we decided to release them in return for nothing," said one of the captors.

    Confirmation

    A diplomat at the Turkish embassy confirmed that the men were released on Friday.

    The two Turks, Soner Sercali and Murat Kizil, are employees of Turkish firm Kayteks.

    The company announced earlier this week it would stop doing business with US forces in Iraq.

    Soner Sercali promised to stop
    working for US forces in Iraq

    On the videotape the Turks said they had not been ill-treated while in captivity.

    Earlier this week, three other Turkish nationals were freed by their captors on the grounds that they were Muslims and their countrymen had demonstrated against the US

    Pakistani captive released

    A Pakistani driver held captive by fighters in Iraq and said on Friday, adding that family members in Pakistan had spoken to the man by phone. 

    "Amjad Hafiz telephoned us from Iraq today and told us that he has been released unharmed," his uncle Abd al-Razzaq told reporters.

    Hafiz, 26, who had been working as a driver for a US company ferrying food from Kuwait to neighbouring Iraq, was captured in Balad, 75km north of Baghdad on Sunday. 

    His captors had threatened to behead him. Pakistani Information Minister Shaikh Rashid confirmed the release.

    Marine's fate unclear

    Hassun Ali is said to have been
    trying to escape to Lebanon

    Missing US marine Cpl Wasif Hassun was formally declared captured by the Defence Department on Thursday, days after a group in Iraq released a videotape of Hassun and threatened to kill him. 

    Hassun, 24, of Salt Lake City, was last seen on 19 June in al- Anbar Province and was initially reported as missing when he failed to show up for duty on 20 June. 

    "While his absence initially prompted investigators to believe he was missing, a video shown on international television on 27 June depicted the marine being held against his will by masked captors," the Pentagon said. 

    "The circumstances regarding his capture remain under investigation." The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Hassun may have deserted the military in Iraq because he was emotionally traumatised and was seized while trying to make his way to his native Lebanon. 

    The newspaper quoted a marine officer in Iraq as saying he believed that the captive was betrayed by Iraqis he befriended on his base and ended up in the hands of resistance fighters.

    The officer said Hassun, a marine linguist, was shaken up after he saw one of his sergeants blown apart by a mortar shell.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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