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Fate of Four Western Hostages in Iraq Remains Unclear

  • VOA News

The fate of four Western hostages held in Iraq remains uncertain, as Saturday's deadline set by their kidnappers has run out.

The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigade seized the activists two weeks ago, and said they would kill the hostages unless all Iraqi prisoners were released from Iraqi and U.S.-run jails.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced Saturday that it had released more than 200 detainees from detention facilities at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca. Officials, however, stressed the release was part of normal operations and not in response to the kidnappers' demands.

Elsewhere, four American soldiers were killed in and around Baghdad, and an Egyptian contractor Ibrahim Sayed Hilali who was abducted in Tikrit Friday was found dead near the city.

The latest violence comes less than a week before Iraqis go to the polls to elect the first full-time parliament since Saddam Hussein was ousted from power in 2003.

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