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Iraqi captors kill British hostage: Abu Dhabi TV

October 08, 2004 20:22 IST
Last Updated: October 09, 2004 01:26 IST

Iraqi captors have killed British hostage Kenneth Bigley, reports Abu Dhabi television.

The head of the channel in the United Arab Emirates Nart Bouran quoted "informed sources" to back the report. He refused to say whether the channel had received a videotape of the killing.

The broadcast did not say when Bigley was supposed to have been killed.

Bigley, 62, was abducted September 16 with two Americans from their residence in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood by the militant Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Meanwhile in London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed his "utter revulsion" for the killing of hostage Ken Bigley, and declared that such actions "in Iraq or elsewhere should not prevail".

"We can confirm that the family now has received absolute proof that Ken Bigley was executed by his captors," his younger brother Phil Bigley said in statement in Liverpool carried live on British television networks.

He also said that the family believed that the British government had done all it could "to secure the release of Ken" after he was abducted in Baghdad on September 16.

The 62-year-old civilian engineer was kidnapped on September 16 along with two US colleagues who have since been beheaded by their captors, the hardline Tawhid wal Jihad (Unity and Holy War) group, led by Iraq's most-wanted man Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.

Nearly 150 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq since April when violence swept the country amid dual Sunni and Shiite revolts against the US presence in the country.

It was a harsh blow after hopes for Bigley's survival rose when his captors spared him from an immediate death like that of his two American colleagues. In recent days, his family said they believed Bigley had been handed over to a more moderate group.

Bigley was last seen pleading tearfully for his life, penned in a cage, in a video aired on Arab television on September 29, begging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to meet his tormentors demands. His captors had initially called for the coalition to free all female detainees in Iraq.

News of the execution came hours after the US military said it struck a building in the rebel city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in the hunt for Zarqawi, who has a 25-million-dollar price on his head.

But the latest raid in Fallujah was marred by charges that a wedding party was hit in the strike.
Twelve people were killed and 16 wounded, including nine females, as they celebrated a wedding, said doctors at Fallujah's general hospital, adding the bride was among the wounded.

The US military, for which this Sunni Muslim bastion has since April become a no-go zone for its ground troops, offered no information on casualties.

"This strike contributed to reducing the capability of the Zarqawi network and increasing safety and security throughout Iraq," it said in a statement.


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