The hostages on Al-Jazeera (AP/APTN)
An attempt to make Japan behave like Spain. From This Is London:
An Iraqi group has kidnapped three Japanese hostages, including one woman, and promised to burn them alive if Japan does not withdraw its forces from Iraq.
Al Jazeera television screened a video today showing three Japanese dressed in civilian clothes. They are believed to be two journalists and an aid worker
The television said a statement by the hitherto unknown Iraqi group called Saraya al-Mujahideen had given Japan three days from the airing of the video to withdraw its troops from Iraq before it killed the hostages.
The statement said: “Three of your sons have fallen into our hands. We offer you two choices: either pull out your forces, or we will burn them alive. We give you three days starting the day this tape is broadcast.”
The hostages were shown wearing civilians clothes. Passports shown on the video gave the woman’s name as Takato Nahoko and the two men as Noriaki Imai and Soichiro Koriyama. At least one of them had a press identification card.
Earlier on Thursday, Japan vowed to make no hasty decisions about its 550 non-combat troops in the southern city of Samawa.
Reports are also claiming that seven South Koreans have also been taken hostage in Iraq.
UPDATE: The Japanese didn’t give in, and maybe the terrorists are going to: “Iraqi group says will release Japanese.” (Thanks to Nicolei.)