Iraqi hostage rescued from 'slaughterhouse'

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The Independent Online

US Marines said yesterday that they had discovered a hostage chained to a wall in Fallujah, giving further credence to the claim that Iraqi forces had found "hostage slaughterhouses" in the city.

US Marines said yesterday that they had discovered a hostage chained to a wall in Fallujah, giving further credence to the claim that Iraqi forces had found "hostage slaughterhouses" in the city.

The hostage, who said he was an Iraqi taxi driver, told the marines he had feared for his life after being beaten with electrical cable.

The hostage said he was seized 10 days ago. The US Marines spokesman Major Francis Piccoli said he was found chained to a wall in north-eastern Fallujah with shackles on his wrists and ankles. The man, who wore no shirt and had bruises on his neck and back, was said to be very malnourished.

The offensive against Fallujah was ordered after a series of gruesome televised beheadings by militants loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a prime target of the US military, who was believed to be in the city, which had been out of bounds for the American and Iraqi forces. But there has been no sign of Zarqawi since the attack began on Monday, and many insurgents seem to have slipped away before the US and Iraqi forces advanced into the city.

* Al-Jazeera television aired a video yesterday showing what the station said was an American contractor of Lebanese origin held hostage in Iraq. The balding, middle-aged man carried a US passport and an identification card in the name of Dean Sadek.

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