'10 more hostages seized' in Iraq

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The Independent Online

The Arab news network Al-Jazeera today showed video pictures of 10 new hostages seized in Iraq by militants.

Al-Jazeera said the 10, including six Iraqis, two Lebanese and two Indonesian women, were taken by The Islamic Army in Iraq. The group has claimed responsibility for seizing two French journalists last month.

The footage showed three of the hostages, who were not identified, and two masked gunmen pointing weapons at them. There was no mention of demands by the militant or when or where the hostages were captured.

The network said the 10 were employees of an electricity company.

The Frenchmen, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, disappeared Aug. 20 during a trip to the southern Iraqi city of Najaf. The Islamic Army in Iraq demanded that France revoke a new law banning Islamic head scarves from state schools.

The law went into effect as planned earlier this month. Negotiations for their release are continuing.

More than 140 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq by a range of groups, some holding them for ransom while others have set political conditions for their release. At least 26 hostages have been killed.