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10 December 2005

No Contact From Activists' Kidnappers on Deadline Day

BAGHDAD, Iraq —  Kidnappers holding four Westerners made no contact with Iraqi authorities on Saturday, the day they had set as a deadline to kill the Christian peace activists unless U.S. and Iraqi authorities release all prisoners, the interior ministry said


The ministry had received no information about the four Christian activists by late morning Saturday, a spokesman said. He asked that his name not be used due to the sensitivity of the situation.

The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigade set Saturday as a deadline for killing Norman Kember, 74, of London, Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Va., and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32.

The group seized the four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams two weeks ago. It first set a Thursday deadline but then extended it until Saturday, without setting a precise hour.

On Friday, Sunni Arab clerics used their main weekly religious service to plead for the hostages' lives because of their humanitarian work and condemnation of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

"We ask those who have authority and power to do their best to release the four European people who work in Christian peace organization," cleric Ahmed Hassan Taha told worshippers in Baghdad's Sunni stronghold Azamiyah. "In fact those activists were the first who condemned the war on Iraq."

05:25 Posted in IRAQ | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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