Romanians seized in Iraq seen on videotape

Romanians seized in Iraq seen on videotape
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The abductors of three Romanian journalists in Iraq have issued a video of them and a fourth person, whom Romanian media described as the trio’s American-Iraqi guide. The tape shows two men pointing guns at the hostages. Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language channel which aired the tape, said an unknown group was holding them and made no mention of any demands.

The Romanians are seen appealing for their freedom. One of them, television reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, apparently denies that any ransom is being demanded. She says, in English: “If somebody asked for something in exchange for our freedom … this is not true.”

Marie Jeanne Ion managed a quick call to her newsroom before vanishing. She was heard pleading with her kidnappers to let them go because they came from a poor country unable to pay a ransom. Yesterday the Romanian government said it had received no ransom demand.

Washington meanwhile confirmed that an American citizen was kidnapped along with the Romanians in a Baghdad suburb on Monday. The incident came during a visit by Romanian President Traian Basescu to Afghanistan and Iraq, where Bucharest has sent 800 troops.

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