Family and friends of two Canadians held hostage in Iraq waited and grew increasingly worried as the deadline set by their kidnappers to kill them passed.
The previously unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigade set Saturday as a deadline for killing James Loney, 41, of Toronto; and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, formerly of Montreal; Norman Kember, 74, of London; Tom Fox, 54, of Clear Brook, Virginia.
All are members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams and were seized two weeks ago by the group, which is demanding U.S. and Iraqi authorities release all prisoners. The group first set a Thursday deadline but then extended it until Saturday, without setting a precise hour.
By Saturday afternoon, there was no word from Baghdad on the fate of the &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/10/24/38623.html' target=_blank>hostages.
"We're getting nervous. We thought we'd hear something in the early hours of the morning today or at least by now," said Ed Loney, James' younger brother.
"We're definitely on edge. We're definitely hungry to hear something, anything at this point."
Loney said they're imagining their response to different scenarios before it happens.
Robin Buyers, a friend of James Loney's and a member of Christian Peacemakers, said they were doing their best to keep hope alive.
"We believe that the extension will expire at some point today, but we really don't know exactly when it is," Buyers said. "There's been no contact. There's no change."
U.S. and British officials have expressed concern for the lives of the captives but made clear they would not bow to the kidnappers' demands.
On Saturday, U.S. officials said they had released 238 security detainees held by the multinational forces. However, such releases are common and arranged weeks in advance. U.S. Embassy spokesman Liz Colton said the release was not in response to the kidnappers' demands.
Ed Loney said he wants the kidnappers to know the hostages have the same goal.
"I'd like them to realize they really do have people that are actually on their side. The four CPT workers have been working hard for the release of detainees in Iraq and that they want to continue that work," Ed Loney said.
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