Sudan has announced it is closing its Baghdad embassy in an effort to win the release of five Sudanese hostages, including one of its top diplomats in Iraq.
A spokesman with Sudan's foreign ministry made the announcement Friday. Al-Qaida in Iraq said the Sudanese, who were kidnapped in Baghdad last week, will be killed Saturday unless Khartoum closes the diplomatic mission.
In Washington, a senior State Department spokesman said it was up to Sudan to do what it feels is necessary regarding the kidnapping. He said, however, as a matter of policy, Washington does not give in to the demands of kidnappers.
Meanwhile, a top U.S. military official in Iraq says the insurgency has weakened since this month's parliamentary elections. Major-General William Webster said the number of successful attacks is down to about 10 percent, from 25 to 30 percent a year ago.