RealNews

Al-Sadr Denies Link to Iraq Kidnapping

A senior aide to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr denied on Friday that the religious leader’s militia was involved in the kidnapping of three Japanese and threats to burn them alive. On Thursday, a video was released showing the three — two aid workers and a photojournalist — surrounded by gunmen in the black garb typical of al-Sadr’s militiamen. The three were seized in southern Iraq, where the Shiite cleric’s militia, the al-Mahdi Army, has been fighting coalition forces. The captors said the three would be burned alive if Japan did not agree to pull its 530 non-combat troops out of the country. But Amer al-Husseini, the cleric’s representative in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, told reporters after Friday’s Muslim prayers that the group had nothing to do with the kidnapping. Full Story

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