Sunni clerics intercede in hostage case

first_imgBAGHDAD, Iraq – An influential Sunni clerical group called Wednesday for the release of five Westerners taken hostage in a grim revival of the kidnappings that shook Iraq last year, saying they should be freed on humanitarian grounds. The Association of Muslim Scholars is believed to have contacts with some Sunni insurgent groups and has helped mediate the releases of other captives in Iraq. The five include four aid workers from the group Christian Peacemaker Teams – Tom Fox, 54, of Clearbrook, Va.; Norman Kember, 74, of London; and James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada – and German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff, 43. The association said freeing Osthoff would recognize Germany’s “positive” stand toward Iraq. Germany strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Osthoff and her Iraqi driver were seized Friday and were later pictured in a videotape blindfolded on a floor, with militants armed with a rocket-propelled grenade standing beside them. In the northern city of Mosul, the head of the regional antiquities department, Muzahem Mahmoud al-Zawbai, said he warned authorities Osthoff was not safe and that he could not be responsible for her security due to insurgent activity. It was unclear if the authorities relayed the warning to Osthoff, who was working to renovate a historic house. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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