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Video shows American hostage beheaded

Group linked to al-Zarqawi threatens to kill 2 other captives


Armstrong
This scene from a video posted on an Islamist Web site shows Eugene Armstrong before his killing.
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CNN's Jane Arraf reports on the killings of two Sunni clerics.

Kidnappers threaten to kill two Americans and one Briton.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An Islamist Web site showed video of an American hostage in Iraq being beheaded by members of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group.

The video showed American Eugene Armstrong sitting in front of five masked insurgents -- four of them armed with assault rifles and one in the middle reading from a paper statement. The five insurgents were dressed in black.

"We will apply God's law on them," a masked man said just before the killing.

Armstrong wore an orange jumpsuit and was blindfolded, with his arms behind him. He occasionally fidgeted while the statement was being read.

A U.S. official said a body believed to be that of an American has been recovered.

The group Jihad and Unification gave a new 24-hour deadline to meet its demand that Muslim women be released from Iraqi prisons or the other hostages will be killed. The group previously released a video of three hostages -- two Americans and a Briton.

The United States said no women are in the two jails, Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib, named by the militants. But it does hold two female "high-value detainees" -- former members of Saddam Hussein's regime -- at undisclosed locations.

The man who read the statement on the video said women are being held in Iraqi prisoners, despite American denials.

"Since you didn't release our sisters, here's the first infidel," the man said.

He then pulled out a knife. Armstrong was shoved to the ground and his head severed.

The video was posted on a Web site that has been used by insurgents in the past.

Armstrong, along with American Jack Hensley and British citizen Kenneth John Bigley, were kidnapped from their residence Thursday. All three worked for Gulf Supplies and Commercial Services, a company based in the Middle East, on reconstruction projects.

On Saturday, the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera broadcast video of the hostages with their abductors giving the initial 48-hour deadline for their demands to be met.

The wife of Hensley begged for all three men's safety after the video was broadcast Saturday.

"Please let them go," Patty Hensley said from her home near Atlanta, Georgia. "They need to come home." (Full story)

The British Foreign Office released a statement denouncing the violence.

"The British government utterly condemns the kidnapping and murder of all innocent civilians," the statement said. "This appalling crime strengthens our resolve to work with the Iraqi government and people to bring security, stability and democracy to Iraq. Our thoughts now are with Eugene Armstrong's family and the families of Ken Bigley and Jack Hensley."

Jihad and Unification, which claims loyalty to al-Zarqawi, has taken responsibility for beheading U.S. businessman Nicholas Berg, South Korean translator Kim Sun-il and a Bulgarian hostage in Iraq.

CNN's Caroline Faraj, Thaira al-Hilli, Bassem Muhy, Faris Qasira and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


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