Kidnappers of the four Western hostages seized in Baghdad Nov. 26 have extended their deadline from Thursday to Saturday.

In new video released Wednesday, British hostage Norman Kember urged Blair to withdraw British troops from Iraq. In an earlier section of the same video, his captors threatened to kill him and three other hostages Thursday, Dec. 8, unless all detainees are released in Iraq. Kember, 74, was seized Nov. 26 in Baghdad with an American Tom Fox, 54, James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 – both Canadians. Seven Western hostages are now held by a group identified as Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s Iraq branch of al Qaeda as the Dec. 15 date for Iraq’s general election approaches.
Tuesday, President Bush declared the US will pay no ransom for the release of US citizens kidnapped in Baghdad. He spoke, after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Islamic Army in Iraq claimed to have seized a senior US security consultant Tuesday Dec. 6 and threatened him with death in 48 hours unless all prisoners are released.
A videotape of the purported captive aired by al Jazeera TV showed a blond man with his hands tied behind his back. An American passport and an Iraqi identity card in the name of Ronald Schulz were displayed.

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