Anxiety rises over German hostages held in Iraq

20th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 March 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German officials are working intensively behind the scenes to save the lives of a German woman and her son who have been held hostage in Iraq for the past six weeks, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday, as a deadline set by their abductors ran out. Their abductors, calling themselves the Arrows of Righteousness, issued a video on March 10 in which they threatened to kill their hostages if the withdrawal of the 3,000 German troops stationed in Afghanistan was not announ

20 March 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German officials are working intensively behind the scenes to save the lives of a German woman and her son who have been held hostage in Iraq for the past six weeks, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday, as a deadline set by their abductors ran out.

Their abductors, calling themselves the Arrows of Righteousness, issued a video on March 10 in which they threatened to kill their hostages if the withdrawal of the 3,000 German troops stationed in Afghanistan was not announced within 10 days.

In the video the woman tearfully begs Chancellor Angela Merkel for help. A German passport shown in the video reveals her to be Hannelore Kadhim, giving her former name as Krause.

A second highly-professional video put out the same day threatens terrorist attacks in Germany if German troops are not pulled out of Afghanistan.

Speaking Tuesday, German Chancellor Merkel said the German government would not allow itself to be "blackmailed by terrorists."

"That is a bitter truth," she added.

German media reports say that Kadhim, 61, is married to an Iraqi and that her son, 20, works as a technician in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

They were abducted from their Baghdad home on February 6. The German government immediately set up a crisis team to deal with the abduction, but first media reports emerged only on February 11.

Press reports said contact had been made with the German authorities through family members living in Germany.

Appeals from German President Horst Koehler, Iraqi Deputy President Tariq al-Hashimi, the Islamic Council in Germany and family members have been to no avail.

Fears were expressed in Berlin that the abductors could seek to cast a shadow over a European Union summit in Berlin this weekend being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the bloc.

As a matter of policy, the German government steadfastly refuses to reveal details of efforts to secure the release of hostages.

In December 2005, German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff was freed after being abducted in Iraq. Media reports said millions of euros had been paid for her release.

DPA

Subject: German news

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