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Iraq: Australian Hostage Faces 72-Hour Ultimatum

Malcolm (l) and Vernon Wood plead for the life of their brother Douglas
The family of an Australian man held hostage in Iraq has issued a new appeal for his release after masked militants issued a three-day ultimatum for Australia to pull its troops from Iraq.

The brother of 63-year-old hostage Douglas Wood said Saturday the family is "shocked and horrified" about the ultimatum, and says such a demand will not make any difference to Australia's policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists.

Arabic television al-Jazeera aired a new videotape Friday of Mr. Wood pleading for his life, and of his captors demanding Australia start withdrawing troops within 72 hours.

Mr. Wood - an engineer who has been living with his American wife in the U.S. state of California - has had his head shaved since a video last Sunday issued by his captors, the Shura Council of the Mujahideen of Iraq two days after authorities believe he was abducted.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.