Iraq police close in on hostages

From The Australian

IRAQI security forces have identified the area where the five Western hostages kidnapped two days ago are being held, a top police official said overnight.

“We have identified the area where they are held. I can’t disclose the place,” Mohammed Ali al-Mussawi, chief of operations at the police headquarters of Basra, the southern Iraqi city, said.

On Thursday militiamen disguised as police officers seized the five Westerners – four US citizens and an Austrian – as they guarded a convoy of trucks from Kuwait that was stopped at a police checkpoint near Safwan, near the Kuwaiti border.

Yesterday Mr Mussawi said all the five hostages are “still held captive” with none of them found dead or rescued as reported earlier.

On Friday a Basra provincial official said that two American hostages had been rescued in a police raid and that one was found dead.

“Iraqi police found the body of an American where they conducted a raid in which two other Americans were freed,” the official said.

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