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UPDATED: 17:40, December 19, 2005
Al-Qaida says US hostage in Iraq executed
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The Islamic Army in Iraq, the al- Qaida terror network branch led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said in a web site on Monday that a US contractor who was held hostage in Iraq has been executed.

There was also a video posted on the web site showing a blindfolded man kneeling on the ground was shot by a gun. The victim couldn't be identified.

This group first claimed that they have killed the US hostage in an internet statement on Dec. 8.

The Islamic Army, which has claimed responsibility for some kidnappings and murders in Iraq, said in a video statement on Dec. 6 that it kidnapped a US national and threatened to kill him within 48 hours unless all prisoners in Iraq were released, reported the Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV channel.

The video showed the cover of a US passport and a bank card bearing the name of Ronald Schulz.

Insurgents often kidnap foreigners in an attempt to drive out occupying forces from the war-ravaged country.

Some 200 foreigners have been taken hostage since the US-led war on Iraq in March 2003. Many of them were freed later, but dozens killed, with some beheaded gruesomely.

Source: Xinhua

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