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Fate of Philippine Hostage Held in Iraq Unclear - 2004-07-10

There are conflicting reports as to whether a Filipino hostage in Iraq has been freed by his captors.

Philippine Labor Secretary Patricia Santo Tomas said kidnapped national Angelo de la Cruz was not yet in Philippine hands, but would be taken to a Baghdad hotel Saturday.

But Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera reports that militants holding the truck driver denied he had been released.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian officials expressed cautious optimism that two of their kidnapped citizens, Ivailo Kepov and Georgi Lazov are still alive. Militants affiliated with wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had said they would kill the two truck drivers Friday night if Iraqi detainees were not released.

And Egyptian officials continue their efforts to find out the fate of one of their citizens who was kidnapped last week in Iraq.