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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:15, July 07, 2005
Iraq's al-Qaida threatens to kill kidnapped Egyptian envoy
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The al-Qaida wing in Iraq said in a statement posted on internet on Wednesday that it will kill Ihab el-Sharif, Egypt's ambassador-designate to Baghdad for being an apostate.

Sharif is considered an apostate as he was a diplomat in the Egyptian embassy in Israel, said the statement.

"Ambassador Ihab el-Sharif is accused of apostasy and would be convicted according to the Islamic law (Sharia)," the statement said, referring to the death penalty.

It added that the religious court of al-Qaida had decided to hand over Sharif to its fighters "to carry out the punishment of apostasy."

Earlier in the day, the group posted pictures of Sharif's identification cards on the same website.

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.

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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