Demanding the release of the woman who has done so much to help them, Iraqis gathered outside the Baghdad offices of the humanitarian group Care International on Monday. The organisation’s director of operations in Iraq, Margaret Hassan, was kidnapped last Tuesday. In a video released on Friday, she was seen in tears begging British premier Tony Blair to withdraw troops to save her life.
Insurgent commanders in the city of Falluja have told reporters that they are not holding Mrs. Hassan, who has lived in Iraq for 30 years and holds joint British-Iraqi nationality. Care International has now suspended its aid operations in Iraq.A group of Iraqi intellectuals told French media on Sunday that two kidnapped French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, will be freed “in several days”. France’s foreign minister Michel Barnier said on Monday that contacts had been re-established with the Islamist militants who kidnapped the two men and their Syrian driver on August 20.