British ambassador appeals to Iraqi kidnappers to release Britons

The British ambassador to Iraq issued an appeal Thursday for the release of five kidnapped Britons and asking Iraqis to come forth with any information about them.

The five Britons were seized on May 29 from Baghdad's Finance Ministry, an abduction believed carried out by the Shiite Mahdi Army militia that is loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

"I am greatly concerned about these five men. Their families are deeply worried not to have news of them. I ask those holding them to release them so they may return to their families," British Ambassador Dominic Asquith said in a statement issued in English and in Arabic.

"We have people here in Iraq who are ready to listen to any person about this incident, or any person who may be holding these men and who may wish to communicate," he added.