Hostages in Iraq threatened with death

Al-Arabiya TV on Monday aired footage of two German hostages surrounded by their kidnappers, threatening to kill them unless the German government meets their demands.

    In January, Aljazeera aired a tape showing the hostages

    No deadline was set, but the station said the kidnappers warned this was the last chance to save the hostages.

     

    The previously unknown Tawhid and Sunnah Brigade abducted Thomas Nitschke and Rene Braeunlich on 24 January in Beiji, north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

     

    Al-Arabiya cited the kidnappers as saying: "This is the last warning to fulfill the demands of the group."

     

    An Al-Arabiya news editor, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorised to speak to the media, said the kidnappers had not set any deadline to carry through their threats on the tape.

     

    The editor added that the station would not air the whole video because much of it was propaganda.

     

    Previous tape

     

    In January, Aljazeera aired the last tape showing the hostages, where the group called on Germany to close its embassy in Baghdad and stop co-operating with the Iraqi government or it would kill the hostages within 72 hours.

     

    Al-Arabiya's broadcaster said the two German hostages spoke in German on the latest tape and pleaded with their government to save their lives.

     

    The voices of the hostages and the kidnappers were not heard on the tape, which showed the Germans sitting on the ground and wearing orange shirts.

     

    Masked men

     

    Four masked men stood behind them, one reading a statement from a piece of paper and holding his other hand in the air.

     

    "This is the last warning to fulfill the demands of the group"

    Tawhid and Sunnah Brigade

    Another carried a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and another had a gun.

     

    Al-Arabiya aired the tape shortly after 8pm (1700GMT).

     

    Nitschke and Braeunlich were seized by armed men in military uniform while on their way to work at a detergent plant near the oil refinery in Beiji, 250km north of Baghdad.

     

    About 250 foreigners, including US journalist Jill Carroll, who was abducted in Baghdad on 7 January, have been taken captive since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and at least 39 have been killed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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