US hostage beheaded by Iraqi captors
A video posted Tuesday on an al-Qaeda affiliated Web site showed the beheading of an American civilian in Iraq, and said the execution was carried out to avenge the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.
The video bore the title "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American." Al-Zarqawi is an al Qaeda member, wanted by US authorities in Iraq. He is blamed by the US to be behind many attacks in Iraq.
The video pictures of the execution showed five men wearing headscarves and black ski masks, standing over a bound man in an orange jumpsuit, who identified himself as Nick Berg, a U.S. civilian whose body was found on a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday.
"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my mother's name is Suzanne," the man said on the video. "I have a brother and sister, David and Sarah. I live in ... Philadelphia."
After reading a statement, the men were seen pulling the man to his side and putting a large knife to his neck. A scream sounded as the men cut his head off, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is greatest). They then held the head out before the camera.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "It shows the true nature of the enemies of freedom. They have no regard for the lives of innocent men, women and children. We will pursue those who are responsible and bring them to justice."
On the Web site, one of the executioners read a statement: "For the mothers and wives of US troops, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused."
"So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins ... slaughtered in this way."
In the video, the speaker threatened both President Bush and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. "As for you Bush ... expect severe days. You and your troops will regret the day you stepped into the land of Iraq," he said. He described Musharraf as "a traitor agent."
Suzanne Berg, the mother of the 26-year-old Bergtold The AP her son was in Iraq as an independent businessman to help rebuild communication antennas. He had been missing since April 9, she said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)