Egyptian hostage found dead in Iraq

An Egyptian man working for the US military in Iraq and captured by armed men has been found shot dead, hours before a deadline set by the captors of four Christian peacekeepers.

    Al-Hilali's body was found near Hajaj village north of Tikrit

    Muthana Ibrahim, a lieutenant-colonel with the Iraqi police force, said on Saturday that the man, who worked as a translator at a US military base, was found near Hajaj village, north of Tikrit, with identity papers in his pocket.

    Egyptian news agency MENA identified the man as Ibrahim al-Sayyid al-Hilali, 46. Police said he had been taken from his house on Friday.

    He is the eighth foreigner seized in Iraq in two weeks. A German archaeologist, Susanne Osthoff, 43, and her Iraqi driver were taken hostage on 25 November; four Christian aid workers - two Canadians, an American and a Briton - were seized the following day.

    Video evidence

    All have since appeared in videos and have been threatened with death. Osthoff's captors demanded Germany break its links with the Iraqi government or she would be killed on 2 December. Nothing has been heard of her since the deadline passed.

    Ronald Schulz in a video from
    the Islamic Army in Iraq

    A deadline set for the killing of the four aid workers is due to expire on Saturday.

    A French engineer was also taken in Baghdad earlier this month and is still being held.

    An American electrician, Ronald Schulz, said to be working as a security adviser to the Iraq Housing Ministry, was also taken and later killed by his captors, the Jaish al-Islami (Islamic Army of Iraq), according to a posting on a website. The statement could not be independently verified.

    Several Egyptians have been seized in the past, including two diplomats working at the embassy in Baghdad. One was later released unharmed but the second, kidnapped several months later, was killed. 

    US soldiers killed
     
    Also on Saturday the US military announced the deaths of four more soldiers killed in separate attacks in Iraq.

    The US death toll in Iraq has now
    topped 2100 since 2003

    Two soldiers were killed when they were fired upon in the Yusufiya district southwest of Baghdad, and another was killed by small-arms fire while on patrol northwest of the capital, the military said.

    A fourth soldier was killed when his patrol struck a makeshift bomb in north Baghdad.

    More than 2100 US soldiers have died since the 2003 US-led invasion to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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