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Family of Australian Hostage in Iraq Offers 'Donation' if He Is Freed


The family of an Australian engineer held hostage in Iraq is offering to send a generous charitable donation to the people of Iraq if he is released.

Malcolm Wood, a brother of the 63-year-old captive, said Monday that the family is not offering a ransom for Douglas Wood, but is trying to make "a significant gesture" to help secure the man's release.

The brother, Malcolm Wood, says the kidnappers have not sought any ransom. The family is asking that the militants involved in the case signal where and how the donation should be paid.

Douglas Wood, an Australian citizen, lives in the U.S. state of California and is married to an American woman. He has been working in Iraq.

Australia's most senior Muslim cleric (mufti) left for Baghdad today to make a direct appeal to Mr. Wood's captors. He has details of the family's financial offer with him.

Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali will not arrive before expiration of a deadline on Tuesday set by the kidnappers, who have said they want all Australian troops withdrawn from Iraq.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters.

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