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Egyptians and iraqis kidnapped { September 25 2004 }

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6 Egyptians, 4 Iraqis kidnapped
Victims work for Iraq's mobile phone company, according to authorities

Associated Press

September 25, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Kidnappers seized six Egyptians and four Iraqis working for the country's mobile phone company, authorities said yesterday, and Muslim leaders in Britain announced plans to send negotiators to Baghdad in hopes of winning the release of hostage Kenneth Bigley.

Gunmen abducted two of the Egyptians on Thursday in a bold raid on the firm's Baghdad office - the latest in a string of kidnappings targeting engineers working on Iraq's infrastructure, in a bid to undermine the U.S.-allied interim government. Eight other company employees were seized outside Baghdad on Wednesday.

Insurgents fired a rocket on a busy Baghdad street yesterday, killing four people and wounding 14, the military said.

The new kidnappings followed the beheadings of two American civil engineers who were taken hostage last week with Bigley. The 62-year-old Briton was shown in a videotape Wednesday begging authorities to meet his kidnappers' demands and save his life.

The militant group Tawhid and Jihad, led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has threatened to kill Bigley unless Iraqi women are freed from prison.

Also yesterday, the Muslim Council of Britain sent a pair of negotiators to meet with religious leaders in Baghdad to try to win Bigley's release.

The group described Daud Abdullah and Musharraf Hussain as "well-respected figures in the British Muslim community."

Iqbal Sacranie, the group's secretary-general, urged Bigley's captors to free him.

"Our religion, Islam, does not allow us to harm the innocent," said Iqbal Sacranie, the group's secretary-general. He urged the kidnappers to "release this man back into the arms of his waiting family."

The British Embassy in Baghdad handed out 50,000 leaflets carrying an appeal from Bigley's family for the kidnappers to spare him, the Foreign Office said.

Two of the Egyptians were kidnapped when gunmen stormed the office of the Iraqna mobile phone company Thursday night, said Interior Ministry official Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman. The gunmen tied up guards, hustled the two communications engineers into a car and drove away, officials said.

The two were employed by Motorola but were doing work for Iraqna, said Farouq Mabrouk, an Egyptian Embassy official.

Four more Egyptian engineers and four Iraqis were kidnapped Wednesday outside Baghdad, Mabrouk said. One of the Iraqis has been released, he said, without elaborating.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it was exerting "intensive" efforts to secure the release of the captives. It said the ministry was looking forward to a speedy release "in light of the brotherly relations between the Egyptian and Iraqi peoples."

The wife of one of the kidnapped engineers - identified by the TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera as Mahmoud Mustafa - pleaded for his release. "He has two daughters who need him. I need him, too," Asmaa Abu al-Seoud said. "He is also a Muslim, and he always performs his prayers."

Other Egyptians have been abducted, including diplomat Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb, who was seized in July by militants angry at Cairo's plan to send security experts to Iraq. He was freed after three days of diplomatic efforts. In August, al-Zarqawi's group said it beheaded an Egyptian it said was a spy, but the death was never confirmed.

More than 140 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq -by anti-U.S. insurgents and criminals seeking ransoms. At least 26 have been killed.

In other developments:

U.S. warplanes, tanks and artillery units bombed the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah today, killing at least eight people and wounding 15, hospital officials and witnesses said. The U.S. military said the strikes targeted a meeting point in central Fallujah for fighters loyal to Jordanian-born terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

An aide to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said his supporters could rise up again if Iraqi authorities continue raiding his offices and detaining his followers. Earlier this week, U.S. troops raided al-Sadr's office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf and detained about a dozen people.

U.S. troops clashed with insurgents around government buildings in the central city of Ramadi, injuring at least seven people, witnesses and hospital officials said.

Copyright 2004, The Baltimore Sun

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6 egyptians 2 iraqis kidnapped in iraq { September 24 2004 }
Afghan militants threaten united nations hostages { November 1 2004 }
Aid worker hassan believed slain in video
Alqaeda says kills egypt envoy in iraq
Alqaeda website shows egyptian diplomat kidnapped { July 6 2005 }
Brits rescue peace activists held hostage in iraq
Egyptian diplomat kidnapped in iraq { July 23 2004 }
Egyptians and iraqis kidnapped { September 25 2004 }
Filipino hostage released in iraq after pullout { July 20 2004 }
Freed egyptian says treated well by iraqi captors
French journalist freed in iraq after 5 months
Hostage begs britain to pull its troops out { October 23 2004 }
Imprisoned women not freed as tensions grow
Iraqi militants free two hostages
Italian journalist held hostage pleads for life { February 16 2005 }
Italy horror at hostage execution
Japanese hostages freed { April 15 2004 }
Japanese south koreans kidnapped by iraqis { April 8 2004 }
Japanese studying depleted uranium taken hostage { April 12 2004 }
Jeffrey ake from indiana pleads for his life { April 14 2005 }
Kidnapped aid workers in afghanistan released
Kidnapped polish woman freed
Kidnappers snatch 2 americans 1 briton from homes
Marine in kidnap video charged with desertion { December 10 2004 }
Militants release video of japanese hostage { October 27 2004 }
Peace group kidnapped in iraq { October 2005 }
Philippines troops out of iraq
Ransom from italians seen as fueling crisis { September 29 2004 }
Second hostage killed in iraq
Six foreign truck drivers threatened with beheading
Tape of bigley decapitation posted on web
Third beheading was south korean who spoke arabic
Three headless bodies discovered north of baghdad
Three iraqi kurd hostages beheaded
Three members of allawi family abducted { November 10 2004 }
Video of 11 iraqi soliders executed posted on web
Video on web site shows beheading of man

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