Monday, May 14, 2007

Military: 'Highly credible information' missing soldiers in hands of al-Qaeda group; Group says stop search 'if you want the safety of your soldiers'

Left: Two of four thousand soldiers involved in today's search.

BAGHDAD, May 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Monday it believed that three U.S. soldiers missing in Iraq were abducted by al Qaeda and the Islamist militant group demanded an end to a massive search as the only way to secure their safety.

"At this time, we believe they were abducted by terrorists belonging to al Qaeda or an affiliated group and this assessment is based on highly credible intelligence information," chief military spokesman Major-General William Caldwell said...

"Your soldiers are in our grip. If you want the safety of your soldiers then do not search for them," the Islamic State in Iraq said in a statement posted on a Web site.

The group did not elaborate but its statement implied the soldiers were still alive. The posting did not carry pictures of the soldiers, make demands for their release or say what their fate would be.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

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