Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The hostage update 

Some of the recent developments in the curious saga of Australian maybe-maybe-not hostages in Iraq (for the previous post, click here):

Still no word: The 24 hour deadline for the Australian government to announce the withdrawal of troops passed last night
without any further communications from the kidnappers.

Accounting for Aussies: The identity of the kidnapped remains unknown. According to the
latest information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 229 Australians had been identified in Iraq and so far 221 had been "accounted for as safe." The Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the authorities had also been in contact with 14 security firms working in Iraq, but "[n]one of those security firms have any knowledge of anybody being taken hostage."

To the rescue (not): A specialist team of federal police
negotiators has flown to Iraq - just in case: "The Government insisted that sending a negotiating team to Iraq was not a breach of its policy of refusing to deal with terrorists, saying any direct contact would be only about attempting to secure the release of any hostages." Initial reports also mentioned Australia's SAS team flying in to participate in any possible rescue operation.

Going technologically backwards: The original threat by the Horror Brigades of the Islamic Secret Army to execute two Australian hostages has been publicised through a
leaflet drop, not the usual video or website announcement. A pretty amateurish effort, by the looks of it.


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