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Group threatens to kill Bulgarians


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(CNN) -- An Iraqi insurgent group has threatened to behead two Bulgarian hostages within 24 hours if the United States does not release all prisoners in Iraq, according to a video aired by Al-Jazeera.

Video showed the two unidentified Bulgarians sitting down with their hands tied, while three armed masked men stood behind them.

The insurgents, calling themselves the Unification and Holy War group, read a statement telling the Bulgarian government its alliances with the U.S. government has jeopardized the safety of its citizens in Iraq.

The group, loyal to insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the beheading of U.S. businessman Nicholas Berg and South Korean translator Kim Sun-il.

The insurgents gave 24 hours to the American government to release all prisoners in Iraq, otherwise the hostages will be beheaded.

Following last month's handover of power, however, the Iraqi interim government has legal custody of all prisoners and the United States plays a security role only.

An editor at Al-Jazeera's newsroom in Doha said the channel received the tape on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, a Filipino driver based in Qatar has been abducted while working in Baghdad.

The kidnappers identified themselves as members of the Khaled Bin Al-Walid Squadrons, part of the Islamic Army of Iraq, and have threatened to kill the man unless Philippine troops are withdrawn from the country. (Full story)


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