Iraq group posts video of U.S. hostage's 'killing'

Iraq group posts video of U.S. hostage's 'killing'19/12/2005
DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi militant group posted on the Internet on Monday a video it said showed the killing of a U.S. security consultant it had abducted earlier this month.

The Islamic Army in Iraq said on December 8 it had killed the man, identified as Ronald Schulz, because the U.S. government had not fulfilled its demands, which included freeing all Iraqi prisoners and compensation for Iraqi families.

The brief video showed a gunman repeatedly shooting an automatic rifle at a blindfolded man who was kneeling on the ground. It did not show his face.

The video, which was posted on an Islamist Web site often used by Iraqi militant groups, included a still photograph of identity cards bearing Schulz's name and picture.

The Islamic Army in Iraq has claimed a number of kidnappings and attacks on foreign and Iraqi government forces. It killed an Italian journalist it held last year.

Schulz was one of several Westerners kidnapped by Iraqi militants since November.

Gunmen are so far holding hostage four Christian peace activists -- two Canadians, a Briton and an American -- as well as a French engineer. Their fate remains unknown.

On Sunday, Germany announced that a German archaeologist kidnapped by gunmen in Iraq three weeks ago had been freed.

Thousands of civilians have been kidnapped in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's government, including more than 200 foreigners. Some foreigners were seized by criminal gangs seeking ransom but insurgents have also used these hostages to pressure their governments to withdraw their armies from Iraq.

Many foreign hostages have been released, but around 50 have been executed, some by beheadings broadcast on the Internet.

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