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Internet posting shows beheading of two hostages in Iraq

Internet posting shows beheading of two hostages in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A Turkish contractor and an Iraqi Kurdish translator were beheaded on a video posted Monday, and a statement said they had been taken captive by the Ansar al-Sunnah Army — the same group that killed 12 Nepalese hostages.

The killing of Turkish contractor Maher Kemal brought to 29 the number of foreign hostages slain in Iraq since a wave of kidnappings began in April.

Also Monday, the Arabic language television station Al-Arabiya broadcast a video showing three hooded gunmen threatening to behead another Turkish hostage within three days unless the Americans release all Iraqi prisoners and all Turks leave Iraq.

The statement that accompanied the video of Kemal's killing said he was working for the Americans at a base north of Baghdad and was abducted Friday on the main highway between the capital and the northern city of Mosul.

The videotape warned foreigners against coming to Iraq "to make cheap, earthly profits in the service of the Crusaders in their war on Islam."

On the tape, Luqman Hussein, the Iraqi Kurd, said he worked as a translator for American forces in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi and had accompanied American soldiers on raids against suspected militants.

Hussein, who came from the northern city of Dahuk, said he was captured while traveling Friday from Ramadi to Baghdad. Numerous Iraqis working for the Americans, including translators, drivers and even laundry employees, have been killed by insurgents for allegedly collaborating with foreign troops.

Insurgents in Iraq have kidnapped more than 150 foreigners in their campaign to drive out coalition forces. Most have been kidnapped for ransom and freed unharmed.

The Ansar al-Sunnah Army also claimed responsibility for beheading an Iraqi hostage earlier this month, saying the man was an Iraqi contractor at the U.S. military base of Taji, north of Baghdad. It vowed to hunt down others helping the U.S. military.

In addition, Ansar al-Sunnah claimed credit for the Feb. 1 twin suicide bombings that killed 109 people at the offices of two Kurdish political parties in Irbil.

The tape broadcast by Al-Arabiya television showed three hooded gunmen standing behind a seated hostage said to be a Turkish truck driver. One of the gunmen identified the kidnappers as members of Tawhid and Jihad, Iraq's most feared terror group, which has been responsible for beheading several foreign hostages.

However, the tape did not feature the group's banner, which has always appeared in Tawhid and Jihad video statements. The gunmen were also dressed differently than those in Tawhid and Jihad videos.

"We of the group of Tawhid and Jihad announce … that we will cut off the head of this hostage if our demands are not met," the speaker said as the hostage's eyes darted from one side to another. "We have long warned them not to enter the land of Islam and land of Jihad, the land of Iraq."

The video showed the hostage's passport but the name could not be determined.

On Sunday, Al-Jazeera television said 10 employees of the Turkish construction company VISNAN have been freed by kidnappers. They were said to have been held by another ' group, the Salafist Brigades of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq.

The Ankara-based VINSAN company could not confirm the release. An employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said only that efforts to have their employees released were continuing "positively."

Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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