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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
'US hostage' shown by TV channel
Iraq hostage
The hostage said he was from Denver, Colorado in the US
Footage of a blindfolded man said to be an American civil engineer taken hostage in Iraq has been broadcast by Arabic TV channel al-Arabiya.

The man identified himself as "Yvan Elias" and was employed by the Pentagon, the channel said.

It added that he had been kidnapped on 3 May by the previously unknown Islamic Anger Brigades.

In mid-April, the US said 40 foreign nationals had been abducted in Iraq; current hostage numbers are less clear.

The blindfolded figure in the video shown by al-Arabiya said he was from Denver, Colorado in the US and urged Muslim leaders to mediate for his release, the channel said.

Missing contractors

Earlier this week, US hostage Thomas Hamill escaped from his captors and was flown out of Iraq.

Mr Hamill, a driver employed by US contractor Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), was one of several foreign nationals abducted in early April as attacks on coalition interests in Iraq saw a marked increase.

Two US soldiers and six other KBR employees also went missing with Mr Hamill after an attack on a convoy.

Following the ambush, Mr Hamill appeared in video footage aired on TV, in which his captors threatened to kill him if the US siege of the city of Falluja was not lifted.

The bodies of four of the KBR employees were later found in a shallow grave near the site of the attack. The body of one of the soldiers was found and identified on 23 April .

The fate of the remaining soldier and the two contractors is unknown.

Meanwhile, the Canadian foreign ministry has confirmed that a businessman kidnapped in Iraq last week has been released unharmed.


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