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Seoul blocks beheading video


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The South Korean government feels heat at home following the death of Kim Sun-il.

Family members and the S. Korean government react to the murder of Kim Sun-il.

Beheading as a tool of terrorist propaganda.
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SEOUL, South Korea -- The South Korean government is trying to block Internet access to graphic video footage of the beheading of Kim Sun-il as public anger grows over his brutal slaying.

The move comes as President Roh Moo-hyun on Thursday ordered a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Kim's kidnapping and murder in Iraq by Islamic militants.

South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication has introduced a 24-hour monitoring system in a bid to close down any Web site that uploads video footage of Kim's execution.

A tape of the beheading was first posted on an Islamic Web site and has subsequently made its way onto a number of other sites.

The tape shows the killing in graphic detail.

The Information Ministry has also asked local Internet service providers to block the spread of the footage where possible, for fears it could further inflame anti-government passions sparked by the killing.

The militants believed responsible for the grisly slaying had demanded the South Korean government drop plans to send 3,000 troops to Iraq in exchange for Kim's freedom.

But Seoul was adamant it would not be blackmailed by terrorists.

"When the nation is in mourning, the ministry felt it was necessary to take strong measures," a ministry official told Reuters news agency.

"When we think it's appropriate, we will take legal actions or request police investigation."

The ministry shut down a local Web site showing images of the killing late Wednesday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The government's policy on troops in Iraq is deeply unpopular with many in South Korea, a sentiment that has been exacerbated by the Kim murder.

Kim, a 33-year-old Arabic-speaking interpreter, was an evangelical Christian who had worked in Iraq for a year for a South Korean firm supplying the U.S. army.

Roh has asked his top advisers for an extensive review into the circumstances surrounding Kim's death following media reports that South Korea's Foreign Ministry had been notified of his kidnapping in early June.

The news of Kim's slaying Wednesday was met with sorrow and outrage around the world, with South Koreans rallying close to the U.S. embassy in Seoul, late on Wednesday.

Kim's body was found by U.S. military police west of Baghdad and appeared to have been thrown from a vehicle.

"The man had been beheaded, and the head was recovered with the body,"a senior coalition official in Iraq said.

Pentagon sources said the body had been booby-trapped with explosives. (Full story)

Reacting to the killing Roh expressed his sorrow but said he would never bow to terrorism.


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