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Militant Group Calls for Release of Aid Worker

From Associated Press

The insurgent group in Iraq headed by Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi called Friday for the release of Margaret Hassan, the executive of an aid group.

If she were handed to them, the militants said, “we will release her immediately unless it is proven she was conspiring against Muslims.”

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified. It was signed “Al Qaeda in Iraq” -- similar to a reported new name for Zarqawi’s group -- and appeared on a website known for publishing militant messages.

The statement appeared three days after a video was broadcast in which Hassan’s kidnappers said Britain had 48 hours to withdraw its troops from Iraq or they would transfer the British national to the militant group.

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