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Body in Iraq Is Not Aid Worker's

Tests show the victim is not Margaret Hassan, though officials still believe she is dead.

December 02, 2004|From Associated Press

LONDON — A mutilated body found in Iraq is not that of kidnapped aid worker Margaret Hassan, the British government said Wednesday. The Foreign Office said it continued to believe that Hassan had been killed, although the evidence was not conclusive.

The Foreign Office said dental tests conducted in the United States showed the body of a woman of Western appearance, found in Fallouja last month by U.S. Marines, was not Hassan.

The Iraq director of the aid group CARE International, Hassan, 59, was abducted Oct. 19 in Baghdad. On Nov. 16, Arab satellite TV channel Al Jazeera said it had received a videotape showing the execution of a hostage identified as Hassan.

British officials who watched the tape said they believed the blindfolded woman shown being shot in the head by a masked gunman was Hassan.

Hassan's four brothers and sisters released a statement last month saying they "have to accept that Margaret has probably gone and at last her suffering has ended." Hassan's Iraqi husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, released an emotional television appeal for his wife's body to be returned.

A Foreign Office spokesman said Wednesday that officials still believed that Hassan had been killed, although they could not be absolutely certain until her body was recovered.

The Irish government said it had no new information about the fate of Hassan.

Born in Ireland and raised in England, Hassan had lived in Iraq for more than 30 years. A fierce critic of United Nations sanctions on Iraq and the U.S.-led invasion, she worked on projects providing humanitarian aid to Iraqis.

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