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7 Turks Held by Insurgents

June 11, 2004|From Reuters

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Iraqi insurgents are holding seven Turks hostage and demanding that Turkish companies leave Iraq, a Foreign Ministry official said Thursday.

Dubai-based Al Arabiya television aired a videotape showing four people who it said were among the Turkish hostages. Masked men, armed with automatic rifles, stood behind them.

"It appears seven people have been taken hostage. We don't have any concrete information on their identities," the Turkish official said.

"They may have been bringing goods and providing logistical support for American companies in Iraq," he said. It was unclear when and where the men had been abducted, he said.

Al Arabiya said the insurgents were members of a group calling itself the Jihad Squadrons. They were demanding that Turks protest the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

The Turkish official said two Turks working for a Turkish contracting firm who were abducted this week had been released.

An Iraqi group holding Turkish truck driver Bulent Yanik and an Egyptian hostage has threatened to kill them if their countries do not condemn the occupation of Iraq.

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