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Tape Shows Apparent US Soldier Held Hostage in Iraq - 2004-04-16

The al-Jazeerah television network has broadcast a videotape showing a hostage in Iraq who identifies himself as a missing U.S. soldier.

The tape shows a man dressed in a an American military uniform in a room with several armed insurgents. The man identifies himself as Keith Maupin, one of two U.S. soldiers missing since a convoy attack near Baghdad earlier this month.

U.S. military authorities are working to verify the man's identity.

News of the tape came Friday, the same day insurgents kidnapped a businessman from the United Arab Emirates in Basra. Dozens of other kidnapped foreigners are being held captive in Iraq.

Also Friday, insurgents released three Czech journalists, a Chinese civilian and a Syrian-Canadian aid worker. During the past week, at least 24 hostages have been freed, although kidnappers also killed one Italian man.

Those kidnappers still hold three Italian men and say they will kill them unless Italy pulls its troops out of Iraq and meets other demands.

Radical Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al Sadr told his supporters Friday to release, unharmed, all hostages from countries that do not have troops in Iraq.

U.S. General Mark Kimmitt said Friday there appears to be at least some loose coordination among the hostage-taking groups.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP