Iraqi group parades 'collaborators'

An Arab satellite channel has aired footage of a group of armed men threatening to kill an Egyptian and a Turkish prisoner if their countries do not condemn the US-led occupation in Iraq.

    Up to 40 foreigners have already been captured in Iraq

    "Death will be the fate of these people if their governments don't condemn the occupation," said a masked man holding an assault rifle as two men crouched in front of him holding up their passports. The footage was aired by al-Arabiya television on Wednesday.

    "I deliver foodstuffs from Kuwait to the US army," said one of the men, who was clean-shaven and spoke in Arabic with an Egyptian accent. The other man had a moustache and spoke in what sounded like Turkish.
    Both men attempted to identify themselves on the tape, but the quality was so poor it was difficult for viewers to be sure of what they were saying.

    However, in similar footage, obtained by Associated Press Television News, the two men reportedly identified themselves as Bulent Yankik, a Turk born in 1969, and Victor Tawfiq Jerges, an Egyptian born in 1959.

    The camera zoomed in on a document reading "ESS company vehicle list".

    One of the gunmen read a statement saying "our Jihad brothers" had captured the two drivers "while they were providing the American army with supplies and goods".

    He did not say where or when they were seized.

    Governments blamed

    "We are going to treat them in accordance with Islamic law, and we warn everyone who is assisting the Americans that they will meet the same fate," the gunman added.

    "We are going to treat them in accordance
    with Islamic law, and we warn everyone who is assisting the Americans that they will meet the same fate"

    Armed hostage-taker

    "We hold their governments responsible for their actions."

    Both men appeared unharmed and were eating food from plates on a carpet on the floor.

    On Tuesday, two Polish contractors and five Kurdish employees were captured near a US compound close to Baghdad.

    One of the Poles managed to escape, a spokesman for their company said. They were taken from their office at around noon by people who drove up in vehicles, a spokesman for their Jedynka construction company told Polish television.

    The wave of kidnappings of foreigners was sparked by the intense clashes that began in April. Up to 40 people from several nations have been seized, though most were later freed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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