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UPDATED: 10:37, November 03, 2004
Kidnappers threaten to hand British hostage to al-Zarqawi
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The kidnappers of British hostage Margaret Hassan have threatened to hand her over to an al-Qaida-related group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi unless their demands - including the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq - are met within 48 hours.

The kidnappers broadcast the warning in a new video tape that showed Mrs Hassan, who has joint British, Irish and Iraqi nationality, in a state of severe distress.

Mrs Hassan, the director of the humanitarian organization CARE International in Iraq, was abducted last month in Baghdad. No group has claimed responsibility for her kidnapping.

The British government has consistently refused to enter into negotiations with kidnappers, and the foreign office declined to comment on the latest development.


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