Mourners pay respects to Margaret Hassan

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The Independent Online

The apparent killing of the former Care International director Margaret Hassan has sent shockwaves through communities all over the world, from her adopted country, Iraq, to the country of her birth, Ireland.

The apparent killing of the former Care International director Margaret Hassan has sent shockwaves through communities all over the world, from her adopted country, Iraq, to the country of her birth, Ireland.

Several hundred mourners congregated yesterday to a church in the village of Kenmare in south-west Ireland, where Mrs Hassan's sister, Geraldine Riney, lives, to pay their respects to the aid worker at a joint Catholic-Protestant service.

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, expressed his deep shock and sadness, and said: "Those responsible for abducting Margaret stand condemned by everyone throughout the entire international community. If they have any humanity, they should now bring to an end the enormous pain and suffering they have inflicted on an innocent and good family."

In Iraq, too, there was shock and disbelief that Mrs Hassan could be the first kidnapped woman to be killed by Islamic militants. Qayder al-Chalabi, head of one of the Baghdad hospitals that benefited from Mrs Hassan's years of commitment, told Reuters that her killers "made a very big mistake. I cannot imagine that these things could happen because she was a very humanitarian person. She felt our suffering, she understood the suffering of the Iraqi people."

Mrs Hassan's death has yet to be confirmed.

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