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US, British aggression blamed for hostage-taking in Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2005-11-30 13:50:32

    OTTAWA, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The US and Canada-based Christian Peacemaker Teams said Tuesday in Toronto that American and British aggression in Iraq is to blame for the hostage-taking of four pacifists, including two of its group members.

    The hostage-taking is the result of the US-led "illegal attack on Iraq" and "the continuing occupation and oppression of its people," said a statement issued by the Christian pacifist group that has opposed the Iraq war.

    The four were snatched at gunpoint on Saturday in a dangerous part of Baghdad by a group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade.

    The pacifist group's spokesman Rob Holmes strenuously rejected the kidnappers' claim that the hostages were spies and evangelicals.

    The four were "absolutely" not in Iraq to spread the Christian faith, he said, adding that his group is now also working on helping release the hostages.

    The organization identified the Canadians as Jim Loney, 41, a Toronto community worker, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, formerly a McGill University student in Montreal who has most recently been studying literature at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

    The other hostages are Briton Norman Kember, 74, of London, and American Tom Fox, 54, of Clearbrook, Virginia.

    The group also expressed concern that repeated showing of the hostages through al-Jazeera video footage aired earlier Tuesday may cause grave consequences..

    "We were very saddened to see the images of our loved ones on Al-Jazeera television,...repeated showing of it will endanger the lives of our friends," it said.

    On the same day, Prime Minister Paul Martin, who has started anelection campaign after his cabinet was toppled Monday by a non-confidence motion, said the government is trying every effort to rescue the hostages and was "reaching out" to their families.

    Insurgents in Iraq have seized more than 225 people, killing atleast 38 over the past two years. Enditem

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