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.

 

Turkish MPs back controversial bill bolstering Erdogan powers

Egypt court voids deal to transfer islands to Saudi Arabia

10 Guantanamo prisoners arrive in Oman

Trump criticises ‘obsolete’ NATO

French summit tries to revive Middle East peace

CIA chief warns Trump to watch his words

Heavy snow traps 1,000 motorists in Tunisia

Burundi begins withdrawal of AMISOM troops

Saudi doubts need for oil output cap extension

Saudi budget airline signs deal for 80 Airbus planes

Palestinians can’t stop US embassy move says Israeli minister

Turkey’s unemployment rate highest since 2010

Syria rebels say will attend Astana negotiations

Hamas to release those arrested over electricity protests

Iranian corruption fugitive caught after international manhunt

In Morocco, reforms stalled with no government formed

Qatar Emir pledges $12m to solve Gaza's electricity crisis

Bahrain building torched in ongoing protests over executions

Clashes near Damascus after negotiator's killing

Iran says US 'hostility' growing despite nuclear deal

Spanish King in Saudi as warship sale mooted

Fighter jet shot down over Libya's Benghazi

Jordan interior, foreign ministers unseated in reshuffle

IS gain ground in oil-rich Syria province

Israel fires on Hamas post in Gaza

Bahrain executes three Shiites over police killings

Over 30 dead as IS attacks city in east Syria

Abbas opens Vatican mission, warns over US embassy move

26 killed as Yemeni forces push rebels back

Civilians killed in Syria air strikes

Turkey suspends pro-Kurdish lawmaker for 'genocide' comment

Saudi Arabia cleric warns of cultural 'depravity'

Russia bypasses Obama, invites Trump to Syria talks

Turkey arrests two over nightclub massacre

Obama eases Sudan sanctions

Palestinians turn to Putin for help against US embassy move

Erdogan says Turks, Greeks remain at odds on Cyprus problem

Israel fears more UN action after Paris conference

Turkey says Russia accord will prevent Syria clashes

Workers enter rebel area to restore Damascus water

Istanbul building collapses killing two

Morocco king to travel to Ethiopia for AU summit

Burqa ban splits Morocco

Paris conference to push for peace with wary eye on Trump

Russia declines to confirm US invitation to Syria talks