BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — A group linked to al Qaeda in Iraq claims it has killed four Russian diplomats, according to a statement posted on a Web site on Wednesday.
The hostages were killed, the statement said, after Moscow did not meet demands to withdraw troops from Chechnya and “release all our brothers and sisters” from prison within 48 hours.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, however, assumes the diplomats are still alive, according to a report from the Russian news agency Interfax.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council said in a Monday statement it was holding four diplomats hostage.
But, the Wednesday posting said, “this government didn’t care about the diplomats and didn’t give their lives any value.”
Instead, it said, the government merely asked for the release of the hostages “while continuing their fight against Islam and its people.”
The Shura Council decided to kill the hostages, the statement said, adding that blood was on the Russian government’s hands “and there will be an example for others after them.”