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WORLD
Iraq Transition

Arab media urged to help save U.S. hostage

Bodies of 15 people killed execution style found in Baghdad

story.1850.carroll.aljazeera.jpg
Jill Carroll asks for the release of female Iraqi prisoners, according to Al-Jazeera, which aired the video.

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(CNN) -- A day after a video of a U.S. journalist held hostage in Iraq aired on Al-Jazeera, a journalists' organization said it plans to work with the Arabic-language media to help gain Jill Carroll's release.

Reporters Without Borders called the videotape of the sobbing journalist "extremely disturbing to watch" but said Tuesday that it was "an encouraging sign, because it proves that Carroll is still alive."

The group asked for support from all news organizations.

"We appeal to news media throughout the world, especially the Arab world, and to Muslim leaders to continue speaking out in support of Carroll," the group said, in a news release.

Muslims and non-Muslims have called for Carroll's release. Reporters Without Borders -- also known by the French Reporters Sans Frontieres -- helped organize a demonstration in Paris, France, on January 20 attended by a French female reporter held hostage last year, Florence Aubenas.

The group said two of its representatives soon will travel to the network headquarters of Al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar, and Al-Arabiya in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, "to help relaunch the campaign together with the Arab media."

According to an Al-Jazeera anchor, Carroll exhorts people to urge the U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry to release female prisoners. (Watch for clues about what the video might mean -- 4:29)

The network broadcast the images but did not air the sound.

The tape was dated January 28 and bore the logo of the Brigades of Vengeance, the group that claimed responsibility for Carroll's January 7 abduction. CNN has no way to confirm when or where the video was shot.

Her captors had threatened to kill her unless all female prisoners were freed. No word on her fate has emerged since the group issued a 72-hour deadline in a previous video that aired January 17.

Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped as she was traveling to a meeting with a Sunni Arab politician, Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her interpreter was shot dead.

Both of Carroll's parents have appealed for her release in CNN interviews. Her father, Jim Carroll, canceled planned appearances on Arab television networks after Monday's video aired and did not plan any further statements.

Father of another hostage speaks

Dalip Singh Sooden, whose son also is being held hostage in Iraq, went to the airwaves Tuesday to ask for his release.

The plea came three days after Al-Jazeera aired footage of humanitarian worker Harmeet Singh Sooden and three fellow members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

A group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade kidnapped Sooden, a Canadian, along with Canadian James Loney, American Tom Fox and Briton Norman Kember on November 26.

Speaking on Al-Jazeera, Dalip Singh Sooden stressed that his son was a peace-loving man who went to Iraq only to help the citizenry.

"I appeal for the captives of my son and his three friends to release them unharmed. I hope my appeal will be answered," Sooden said.

Al-Jazeera has reported that the Swords of Righteousness Brigade issued a statement that accompanied the Saturday video, saying this is the "last chance" for the United States to meet its demand that all Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody be released.

German hostage video airs

A group calling itself Supporters of God's Unity and Sunna Brigades released a second videotape of two kidnapped German engineers Tuesday evening.

The kidnappers threatened to kill the men if the German government doesn't cut ties with Iraq and if German companies do not quit conducting business there. The insurgents also demanded that German Chancellor Angela Merkel close the embassy in Baghdad.

The video, aired on Al-Jazeera, shows the hostages amid armed, masked men. It contains an electronic time stamp of January 29 and, according to Al-Jazeera, the captors said the men will be killed in 72 hours if the demands aren't met.

CNN could not independently verify the tape's authenticity.

The men, identified by German media as Rene Braunlich and Thomas Nitzschke, were kidnapped last week while working at a detergent factory on the grounds of the Beiji oil refinery north of Baghdad.

In an earlier video, the two men asked German officials to take steps to secure their release.

Germany's Foreign Office said Tuesday's video is "proof of a crime that has no regard for life."

In a statement issued Tuesday, the agency said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was being "briefed continuously" on the situation and would brief the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Police find 15 bodies in Baghdad

The bodies of 15 people who were blindfolded and shot in the head were found in Baghdad on Tuesday, police said.

Officials said they were trying to identify those killed but assumed they were Iraqis.

Eleven of the bodies were found in the back of a pickup. The victims seemed to be in their early 20s and appeared to have been tortured, police said.

Three of the other bodies were found in the southeastern neighborhood of Rustumiye, while one corpse was found just outside of the Sadr City district, in the northeastern section of the capital.

British death toll at 100

An explosion in the southern province of Basra killed a British soldier, the 100th member of the United Kingdom's armed forces to die in the Iraq war, according to a Defense Ministry statement.

The soldier killed Tuesday morning was a member of the 7th Armored Brigade. Three other soldiers were wounded.

Another soldier in the same unit died Monday morning after his patrol came under fire in Maysan province. (Full story)

Six killed in Diyala province

Six Iraqis were killed in religiously diverse Diyala province on Tuesday.

Gunmen killed three members of a Sunni cleric's family at their home in what officials suspect was the latest case of sectarian violence.

A mixed, volatile province northeast of Baghdad, Diyala has endured a great deal of violence between Sunni and Shiite Arabs. Baquba, its capital, and other towns in the region have become accustomed to the warfare between religious groups.

Sheikh Qassem Daham arrived at his home in Muqtadiya, north of Baquba, after nighttime prayers on Monday to find his wife and two sons -- ages 5 and 2 -- shot dead. The cleric and a spokesman at Diyala's Joint Coordination Center confirmed the incident.

Daham said that it was "God's will" that his family had died.

In Buhriz, south of Baquba, armed gunmen killed three Iraqi soldiers and wounded three others, the coordination center said.

Other developments

  • ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and video journalist Doug Vogt arrived late Tuesday afternoon at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and were transferred to a brain injury center there. Woodruff, 44, and Vogt, 46, were initially taken to a military hospital in Germany after they were seriously wounded Sunday in a roadside bombing just north of Baghdad. (Full story)
  • The U.S. military is increasing its medical surveillance of troops in Iraq, looking for possible infections and flu-like illnesses that could be related to avian flu, a Pentagon official said Tuesday. So far there has been no evidence of either the deadly bird flu or any unusual increase in influenza among U.S. troops, the official said. The Iraqi Health Ministry confirmed Monday that a 15-year-old girl died last month after being infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu. (Full story)
  • CNN's Arwa Damon and Octavia Nasr contributed to this report.

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