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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 23:08 GMT
Tape shown of US hostage in Iraq
Jill Carroll in a still from a video shown on al-Jazeera

Al-Jazeera has broadcast a video of the kidnapped US journalist Jill Carroll - the first sighting of her since she was abducted in Baghdad 10 days ago.

The video contained a claim that her unknown abductors would kill her unless all female prisoners in Iraq were released within 72 hours.

Ms Carroll, 28, has been a freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, among others.

More than 40 Westerners and hundreds of Iraqis are being held in the country.

Four Christian peace activists, including a Briton, an American and two Canadians, were seized on 26 November.

They, too, have been seen in a video released by their captors, but there has been no word of their fate.

Plea for mercy

Ms Carroll's family issued a statement pleading for her release after the video became available.

Jill has always wanted to know and experience as much as possible about Arab identity
Jordan Times
"Jill is a kind person whose love for Iraq and the Iraqi people are evident in her articles. She has been welcomed into the homes of many Iraqis and shown every courtesy.

"From that experience, she understands the hardships and suffering that the Iraqi people face every day," the Carroll family said.

"We respectfully ask that you please show her mercy and allow her to return home to her mother, sister and family," the statement issued by Jim, Mary Beth, and Katie Carroll said.

The video of Ms Carroll shows her apparently speaking to the camera, but does not include her voice.

Al-Jazeera did not say where it got the tape. The station itself has called for the release of Ms Carroll.

Dangerous

Ms Carroll was going to meet Adnan Dulaimi, the head of a prominent Sunni coalition, in Baghdad's western Adel district when she was seized and her translator fatally hurt on 7 January.

She is the 31st foreign journalist kidnapped in Iraq since the invasion almost three years ago, according to Reporters Sans Frontieres.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Baghdad says the Adel district is one of the city's most dangerous, where three Iraqi television journalists were killed shortly before Ms Carroll was seized.

Ms Carroll had been reporting from the Middle East for Jordanian, Italian and other media organisations for the past three years, the Christian Science Monitor said in a statement.

The newspaper said it had "tapped into her professionalism, energy and fair reporting on the Iraqi scene" in recent months and praised her determination in seeking accurate views from Iraqi political leaders.

The Monitor describes itself as a non-religious newspaper.


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