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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Iraq militants release 10 Turks
Ten Turkish hostages released in Iraq
The Turks' employer said it would resume work in Iraq
Ten Turkish hostages have arrived in Baghdad after being released by an Islamist group in Iraq.

The chairman of their employer, the Vinsan construction firm, said its operations in Iraq would continue.

Earlier reports said the Salafist Abu Bakr al-Seddiq group had freed the men on condition that the firm left Iraq.

Another Iraqi militant group, Ansar al-Sunna, said it had beheaded an Iraqi Shia man whom it accused of spying for US forces in Iraq.

A video on an Islamist website showed the killing of the man, named as Ala al-Maliki and described as a follower of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.

'Work goes on'

Vinsan chairman Ali Haydar Veziroglu said his freed employees were in good health, adding: "They were not treated badly, they're very happy to be released."

He said the company's announcement in September that it was halting operations in Iraq was no longer valid, now that its staff had been freed.

"Of course, of course we will continue ... our work here without suspension," Mr Veziroglu told Turkish NTV television from Baghdad.

Ankara-based Vinsan has been taking part in a multi-million dollar road project in Iraq.

"We can confirm that the 10 Turkish hostages have been freed," said a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman.

Turkish hostage Maher Kemal was shown apparently being beheaded by his captors
Turkish hostage Maher Kemal was apparently killed
"Authorities from the embassy are now with them."

Several Turkish nationals have been among more than 150 foreigners abducted in Iraq since April.

Some Turks have been killed, including a contractor, Maher Kemal, whose apparent beheading was shown on a video released on Monday.

Also on Monday, Al-Arabiya TV showed a video of armed men threatening to behead a further Turkish hostage unless all Iraqi prisoners were released and all Turkish nationals left Iraq.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The freed men arrive in Baghdad



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