Friday, August 13, 2004


British journalist taken hostage

James Brandon, a 23-year-old British journalist working for The Scotsman and Sunday Telegraph, was kidnapped from his hotel in Basra. The group has demanded the withdrawal of American forces from Najaf within 24 hours.

This is unusual:

Kidnappers in Iraq have seized scores of hostages in recent months threatening to kill them in an effort to drive out coalition forces and companies supporting them.
Most of those kidnappers have been Sunni insurgents, but the militants who seized Mr Brandon were almost certainly Shias angry at the battles in Najaf.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair is on vacation from his vacation. In a Bush-like response,

Downing Street refused to say immediately whether the Prime Minister - who was today taking a break from his Italian holiday to attend the opening of the Olympic Games in Athens - would return to the country to oversee the handling of the crisis from London.

Muqtada al-Sadr has called for the hostage's release.

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