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Kidnappers in Iraq Release Video of US, Austrian Hostages


Kidnappers in Iraq have released a videotape of five Western private security contractors abducted in southern Iraq almost seven weeks ago.

The captives, four Americans and one Austrian, appeared separately on the edited video posted on the Internet and also delivered to Western news agencies on Wednesday.

All five said they have been well treated and they appeared to be in good health. One of the captives said he cannot be released until all prisoners held by U.S. and British forces in Iraq are freed.

The video did not show the kidnappers.

The security contractors from the Kuwait-based Crescent Security Group were escorting a convoy when they were abducted near Basra on November 16 by assailants dressed in Iraqi police uniforms.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

U.S.-led coalition forces have said they were following several leads but so far have not been able to locate the captives or identify the abductors.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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