Iraqi ambassador in Germany says kidnappings aimed at upcoming elections

Iraq's ambassador to Germany said Friday that the kidnapping of a German aid worker was likely an attempt to disrupt upcoming elections. Ambassador Alaa Hussein Al-Hashimi said on ARD television that the timing of the abduction of Susanne Osthoff was no accident. With parliamentary elections set for Dec. 15, there will be more attempts by insurgents to show "themselves and the whole world that they are there," Al-Hasmimi said. "But the political process will go on."

Osthoff, 43, was seized along with her driver in northern Iraq. On a video made public on Tuesday, kidnappers threatened to kill her unless Germany stops dealing with the Iraqi government.

While German officials have yet to establish contact with her captors, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany will not be "blackmailed."

Germany was an ardent opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has refused to send troops there, but has been training Iraqi soldiers and police outside the country.

In a message shown Thursday on Germany's ZDF television, Osthoff's sister and mother pleaded with the kidnappers to release her, pointing out that she was a Muslim convert with a young daughter as well as a friend of Iraq, reports the AP. I.L.

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