Insurgents threatened on Saturday to cut the throats of two Americans and a Briton seized in Baghdad, and launched a suicide car bomb attack on Iraqi security forces in Kirkuk that killed at least 23 people.
In Internet video footage the three hostages were shown kneeling blindfolded on the ground, with a hooded &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/region/2001/06/27/8810.html' target=_blank> gunman aiming his weapon at the head of one of the captives.
The gunman said the Tawhid and Jihad group led by &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/region/2001/12/21/24218.html' target=_blank>Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would kill the men unless female Iraqi prisoners were freed from two Iraqi jails within 48 hours.
"Tawhid and Jihad sets a 48-hour deadline for the release of all our Muslim sisters in Abu Ghraib and Umm Qasr prisons or else, by God, these three hostages will have their throats slit to set an example," the militant said.
The U.S. military said no women were held at either jail, informs Reuters.
According to the Bloomberg, the U.S. State department is offering $25 million for information leading to the arrest of Zarqawi. Iraqi leaders and the U.S. accuse the 36-year-old Jordanian of being behind the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/accidents/ 21/93/374/12792_assassination.html ' target=_blank>assassination of Iraqi Governing Council leader Ezzedine Salim and the beheading of U.S. citizen Nicholas Berg.