GOLD COAST BUL­LETIN Tues­day, September 14, 2004

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

TWO Aus­tralians and two East Asian men had re­port­edly been kid­napped in Iraq.

A state­ment was re­leased, pur­port­edly from the Is­lamic Se­cret Army in the Sunni Mus­lim in­sur­gent bas­tion of Sa­marra.

The rebels gave Can­berra a 24-hour dead­line to end Aus­tralian in­ter­ests in Iraq or see

the hostages ex­e­cuted, but there was no im­me­di­ate con­fir­ma­tion of the ul­ti­ma­tum’s au­then­tic­ity.

“One of our brave brigades am­bushed civil­ian cars be­long­ing to the Amer­i­can army on the mo­tor­way from Bagh­dad to Mo­sul,” said the state­ment.

“It took four pris­on­ers – two Aus­tralians and two East Asian na­tion­als who were work­ing as se­cu­rity con­trac­tors for im­por­tant people,” it said.

“We tell the in­fi­dels of Aus­tralia that they have 24 hours

to leave Iraq or the two Aus­tralians will be killed.”

The For­eign Af­fairs Depart­ment was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the au­then­tic­ity of the state­ment.

Mean­while it was re­vealed scores of Aus­tralians, in­clud­ing some for­mer SAS troops, were be­lieved to be risk­ing their lives work­ing as pri­vate se­cu­rity con­trac­tors in Iraq. For­mer elite SAS sol­diers could earn as much as $9000 a week to guard cor­po­rate man­agers and in­fra­struc­ture projects.

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