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UPDATED: 08:14, July 07, 2005
Iraq's al-Qaida posts web pictures of Egyptian envoy's IDs
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The al-Qaida wing in Iraq posted web pictures of the identification cards of the kidnapped Egyptian diplomat on an Islamist Web site Wednesday.

The pictures showed five ID cards in the name of Ihab el-Sharif with his photos, including his Egyptian driving license, Foreign Ministry and health insurance cards.

"These are the identification cards of the ambassador of tyrants," said a statement by the al-Qaida Organization for Holy War in Iraq, without elaboration.

Ihab el-Sharif was kidnapped by a group of gunmen on Saturday near the Egyptian consulate in al-Rabie Street in western Baghdad.

An audiotape purportedly attributed to the al-Qaida leader and the most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed that his group had kidnapped the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq.

"The Egyptian ambassador has been kidnapped by our mujahideen and he is now under the control of our mujahideen," the speaker said.

Last month, Egypt became the first Arab and neighboring country to respond to US calls for upgrading their diplomatic missions in Baghdad.

Up to 49 countries have now different grades of diplomatic representations in Iraq, including 18 Arab and Muslim countries, according to Iraq's Foreign Ministry Website.

Source: Xinhua

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