11/17/2004

Yahoo! News - Casualties of war

Yahoo! News - Casualties of war: "Appeals not heeded

Hassan appeared to have been kidnapped by a particularly radical group that did not heed an appeal for her release even from America's most wanted terrorist leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Last week, al-Zarqawi said Hassan should be freed unless she was proved a spy. 'In true Islam, they don't kill women and young children,' he said in a statement on the Internet.

Earlier, Hassan's kidnappers, who never identified themselves, threatened to hand her over to al-Zarqawi's group unless Britain withdrew its forces from Iraq. In a videotape that Al Jazeera refused to air because it was too distressing, Hassan was seen begging for her life before passing out and being revived by a bucket of cold water.

Al Jazeera, which did not air the video of the execution, said it was not accompanied by sound. The satellite station said it received the tape a few days ago and it was unclear when the execution took place.

Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who recently renamed his group Al Qaeda in Iraq, began in May to behead hostages and post videotapes of the executions online. Since the first such beheading, of young American businessman Nicholas Berg, videos of dozens of beheadings have either been made available on the Internet or given to Arabic TV stations.

Leader escapes assault

Al-Zarqawi was a main target of the U.S.-led assault on Fallujah, where American forces are winding down a 10-day operation to retake the rebel city.

So far it appears that few foreigners are among more than 1,000 alleged insurgents captured in the assault, which U.S. officials said was aimed at rooting out the militant groups blamed not only for the kidnappings but the daily car bombings that are causing misery for ordinary Iraqis.

Pentagon (news - web sites) officials in Washington indicated Monday that about 20 foreigners are among the detainees. Al-Zarqawi is not among them, and though it is believed he at one point had made his headquarters in Fallujah, it appears he fled the city before the operation."

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