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Mediators Work to Free 7 Hostages Held in Iraq - 2004-07-31

Insurgents in Iraq holding seven truck drivers captive are believed to have extended a deadline to execute one of them, as efforts continue to negotiate their release.

News reports say the Black Banners militant group has given the Kuwaiti employer and governments of the seven men until 1500 Universal time Saturday, to meet its demand to leave Iraq.

The group is holding three Indians, three Kenyans and one Egyptian hostage.

Meanwhile, Turkish media is reporting that a Turkish truck driver kidnapped July 17 after his convoy was attacked near Mosul, has been freed and returned home.

And the relatives of four Jordanian truckers held by another militant group in Iraq, say the kidnappers have told them the men will be freed soon.