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.

 

Iraq troops prepare for final assault on ISIS-held Fallujah

Iran moderate conservative retains parliament speakership

Without clear roadmap, Libya unity government fails to bring change

Iran blames Saudi Arabia for Hajj impasse

In Iraq town, fans of Real Madrid gather in 'challenge to ISIS'

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sowing ‘sedition’ in Iraq

Israel police send Netanyahu spending file to prosecutors

Bahrain court upholds life terms for five 'spies'

Investigators need 12 days to recover EgyptAir black boxes

Iraq Kurdish forces launch offensive east of Mosul

Shipwrecks in Mediterranean claim up to 700 lives in one week

ISIS offensive triggers mass displacement in northern Syria

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes

New Israeli defence minister's tough talk to be put to the test

Syria most dangerous place for health workers

Concern for civilians trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Brent rises past $50 a barrel

Iraq PM urges protesters to stay home

Juncker warns Ankara against migrant deal threats

Israeli air force carries out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza

Annual Jewish pilgrimage starts in Tunisia

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced