British officials have dismissed a statement posted on an Islamist website claiming that British hostage Kenneth Bigley was executed by militants in Iraq.
The message said the hostage was killed by members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group, and that a tape of the execution will be released shortly.
But British officials say the website carrying the message has posted unsubstantiated claims in the past.
The brief statement also claimed the kidnapping of seven British soldiers. British officials dispute that, saying all of their troops are accounted for.
Meanwhile, a small delegation of British Muslim leaders has arrived in Baghdad in a bid to win Mr. Bigley's release.
Separately, Egypt appealed for the immediate release of all hostages in Iraq, including six Egyptians kidnapped this week.