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Iraqi insurgents behead South Korean hostage

From Wolf Blitzer
CNN

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Kim Sun Il had worked in Iraq for a year as a translator.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- South Korean Kim Sun-il begged for his life on a videotape released by his captors: "Please get out of here. I don't want to die. Your life is important but my life is important."

But Kim's dramatic pleas heard around the world were for naught. The South Korean government confirmed Iraqi insurgents had executed the 33-year-old Arabic-language translator. He had been working in Iraq for the past year for a South Korean firm supplying goods to the U.S. military.

Pentagon officials confirmed he had been beheaded -- just like the American hostages, Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia, and Nicholas Berg in Iraq.

"The free world cannot be intimidated by the brutal action of these barbaric people. See, what they're trying to do is, they're trying to shake our will and our confidence. They're trying to get us to withdraw from the world so that they can impose their dark vision on people," President Bush said Tuesday in response to the killing.

Kim, Berg and Johnson were all seen on Islamist Web sites wearing orange jumpsuits -- similar to those worn by prison inmates.

After kidnapping Kim, the terrorists had given the South Korean government 24 hours to cancel plans to deploy some 3,000 troops to northern Iraq. The demand had been rejected by the government in Seoul. South Korea already has 670 troops deployed in southern Iraq.

In announcing the death of Kim, one of the terrorists issued this statement in a videotape broadcast by Arab TV channel Al-Jazeera: "We warned you. The deadline has passed. This is the result of your own doings. Enough lies and cheating. Your troops are not here for the sake of the Iraqi people, but they are here to serve the cursed America."

But after the body was found, the South Korean government again said it would not be deterred.

Shin Bong-kil, a spokesman for the South Korean Foreign Ministry, said "We reaffirm our plans to send troops to Iraq because our military deployment is for reconstruction and humanitarian aid support for Iraq."


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