First Published: 2005-10-26

 
Zarqawi claims kidnapping of Moroccan embassy employees
 

Rabat is to send diplomatic mission to Baghdad to help search effort for Boualam, El Mouhafidi.

 

Middle East Online

They are both married to Iraqi women

DUBAI - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda group on Wednesday claimed responsibility in an Internet statement for the kidnapping of two employees of the Moroccan embassy in Baghdad.

"Your brothers in the military branch of the Al-Qaeda group (in Iraq) have detained two Moroccans, working for the Moroccan embassy in Baghdad," the statement on the group's website and signed by the group's spokesman Abu Maissara Al-Iraqi said.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

Earlier the Moroccan foreign affairs ministry said that the two employees had disappeared on the road between the Jordanian capital Amman and Baghdad -- a road widely feared for repeated kidnappings carried out by ordinary criminals or insurgents.

The embassy identified the pair as driver Abderrahim Boualam and agent Abdelkrim El Mouhafidi.

In the Internet statement the group said that the two Moroccans "were still being questioned".

It reaffirmed the group's commitment to "continuing the Jihad (Holy war) and the fight against the enemies of God... to victory or martyrdom", giving neither the motive for the kidnapping, nor the subject matter of the questioning.

The new claim came a day after Al-Zarqawi's group claimed responsibility for a triple attack on Baghdad hotels that killed 17 people, according to a statement also posted on an Islamist web site.

The blasts hit early Monday evening as Muslims sat down to break the daytime fast observed during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Jordanian-born Zarqawi is Iraq's most-wanted man and has a 25 million dollar US bounty on his head.

The Iraqi branch of Al-Qaeda also claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and killing six days later of two Algerian diplomats, Ali Belaroussi, 62, and Azzedine Belkadi, 47, in Baghdad on July 21.

On July 7, the same group said it had killed the Egyptian charge d'affaires in Baghdad, Ihab al-Sherif, who was kidnapped five days earlier.

Egyptian authorities took the claim seriously even though his body was never found.

On June 24 Moroccan news agency Map had said, quoting a foreign ministry source, that Rabat was going to send a new ambassador to Baghdad.

Morocco is currently represented in the Iraqi capital by its charge d'affaires Abdelkrim Sadeq.

Rabat was to send a three-man diplomatic mission to Baghdad on Tuesday to help the search effort.

The two Moroccans are married to Iraqi women, the ministry said.

 

Iran nuclear talks enter their final day

After a month-long battle, Tikrit 'liberated'

Kuwait emir pledges $500 million at Syria donors conference

Arab coalition pounds Yemeni capital

Ancient Libyan treasures now in ISIS' sights

Armed group takes prosecutor hostage in Istanbul

Palestine must wait for its day in court

UN rights chief expresses alarm on Yemen situation

Suicide blast in Iraq on bus carrying Iranian pilgrims

Iraq forces ‘retake’ government HQ in Tikrit

Massive power cut causes chaos across Turkey

Assad does not see Russia, Iran interests in Syria

Confidence in Tunisia ability to rebound as museum reopens to public

Iran claims US drone killed two military advisers in Iraq

Court finds ex-Israel Premier Olmert guilty in corruption retrial

Deadly air strike hits camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen

Erdogan insists on visit to Iran despite war-of-words

UN chief in Iraq for talks with top officials

UN warns of horrifying Syria 'catastrophe'

Iran asks for explanation on Erdogan comments

One day to Iran nuclear talks deadline

Yemen ex-president's son sacked as ambassador to UAE

At time of war, cigar business launched in Syria

Yemen Huthi rebels bombed for fifth night

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen