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Hostage's family asks for show of yellow ribbons

Spokesman: 'We ask that you ... believe in Matt Maupin'

A uniformed man who identified himself as Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin is shown on a videotape broadcast Friday by Al-Jazeera.

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Arabic television network Al-Jazeera videotape shows footage of a U.S. soldier and his captors.

Batavia, Ohio, rallies in support of Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin

• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide
Cincinnati (Ohio)

(CNN) -- The family of a U.S. soldier kidnapped in Iraq is asking everyone in the United States to display yellow ribbons "to show your belief in his safe return."

Images of the soldier they know as "Matt" shot around the world Friday after a videotape was broadcast on the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera.

In the video, the man, who is shown sitting on the ground with gun-toting men behind him, identified himself as Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin. (Full story)

"We have viewed the videotape of Matt, as all of you have, I'm sure, and our family is very happy and prays for Matt's safety," spokesman Carl Cottrell said, reading a statement from Maupin's family.

Maupin, 20, graduated three years ago from Glen Este High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The school issued a statement calling him a "great kid" and "an excellent student" who won the Scholar Athlete Award for maintaining a 3.5 GPA while playing football.

The tape shown Friday was the first indication he was alive after he went missing one week before when his fuel convoy came under attack near Baghdad.

Another soldier with the Army's 724th Transportation Company, Sgt. Elmer Krause, 40, of Greensboro, North Carolina, is still missing.

American flags, candles and yellow ribbons could be seen Friday in Batavia, a village about 15 miles east of Cincinnati, as family, friends and supporters of Maupin held a rally.

Several hundred people gathered on the steps of the Clermont County Courthouse to pray and sing in support of Maupin and other U.S. service members.

They also agreed with efforts by Maupin's family to cover their town, state and country with yellow ribbons.

"We ask that you continue to believe in his safe return, believe in the efforts of our military, as we do right now, believe in their skill and know-how as we do, and believe in Matt Maupin," Cottrell said.

"To show your belief in his safe return, we ask the community of Batavia as well as surrounding communities and across the nation to tie yellow ribbons in Matt's honor 'till he safely returns home, so that when he does return home, he'll see the support that we've seen over the course of these last five days."

Maupin is not the first American recently taken hostage in Iraq.

Civilian contractor Thomas Hamill, a truck driver from Macon, Mississippi, has also been seen on a videotape in the custody of armed men with their faces covered.

His captors said they would kill him if the United States did not withdraw its troops from the Sunni-majority city of Fallujah. The deadline to meet his captors' demands has passed.

Six other civilian contractors with the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root are also missing since the fuel convoy attack April 9.

CNN affiliate WCPO-TV contributed to this report.

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